Your Future Our Clutter (Domino Records)
One of Manchester, England’s most enduring and popular postpunk bands returns with its 28th album since 1979’s Live at the Witch Trials. Frontman Mark E. Smith and company have hopped over to Domino, where they now rub elbows with more contemporary mainstream alt-rock darlings Animal Collective and Dirty Projectors. (The Fall’s lineup changes are legendary, but Smith’s wife, Eleni Poulou, remains on backup vocals, bass, and keyboards, where she’s been since 2002.) Fortunately, the label company it keeps hasn’t impeded The Fall from unleashing yet another fuzzed-out, absurdist, snarling-guitar beast upon the world. In true Fall fashion, there’s so much going on here instrumentally that, for the uninitiated, the urge to skip tracks takes over immediately. Don’t do it. Every song begins as a challenge but eventually broadens with The Fall’s sonic genius — like a cover of Wanda Jackson’s rockabilly ditty, “Funnel of Love,” which is infused with contemporary synth hooks pulled straight from a Prodigy album. Smith, who has broken his hip twice in the past six years, weaves the album’s nine songs (some between six and seven minutes long) with angsty allusions to medicine and hospitals and offers plenty of surreal ponderings on drug use, isolation, and mortality, which have always been his lyrical strong points. With The Fall’s newest, fans old and new have something to cheer about: broken hip, broken hip, hooray! Sorry — couldn’t resist.