If you didn’t know any better, you might think that Your Future Our Clutter is a recording of a raving old lunatic heckling a very solid instrumental band — but that’s just the magic of Mark E. Smith. The bilious frontman has aged like a cheap wine: embittered, but with enough kick left to make for a good time.
The heroes of this record are the backing band — particularly guitarist Peter Greenway and Smith’s wife, keyboardist Elena Poulou, who keep the music tight and focused while the singer splatters his free-associative lyrics all over them. Greenway kills “OFYC Showcase,” ripping the track into a manic, frenzied crescendo that bristles with electricity.
His twangy, elastic playing on “Cowboy George” is a bizarre spaghetti Western homage, as perplexing as it is exciting. The rhythm section of Dave Spurr and Keiron Melling propels “Hot Cake” with just the right smug swagger. And “Chino” may be Smith’s most personal — and most disturbing — song yet, a dark meditation on his health struggles (which include two broken hips) where he asks desperately, “When do I quit?” The answer lies in the rest of the album: not any time soon.