The Unutterable

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The Unutterable
Studio album by The Fall
Released 6 November 2000
Genre Post-punk
Length 55:42
Label Eagle
Producer Grant Showbiz, Mark E. Smith
The Fall chronology
Live 1977
(2000)
The Unutterable
(2000)
Liverpool 78
(2001)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[2]
Mojo (favourable)[3]
NME (favourable)[4]
Time Out (favourable)[5]
Uncut 4/5 stars[6]

The Unutterable is an album by British rock band The Fall, released in 2000. It was recorded with much the same line-up as had appeared on the group's previous album, 1999's The Marshall Suite (although Kazuko Hohki—the singer from the English-based Japanese band Frank Chickens—provides extra vocals on one track). However, whilst this version of the band was still coming together as the previous album was being made, by the time of the current record, they'd had a year to gel as a unit. Therefore, while there is some similarity in the sound of the two, The Unutterable was a lot more consistent in its production and songwriting. It was generally well received by the critics, being praised as a "career peak" by Dave Simpson of The Guardian,[7] and prompting Piers Martin of the NME to suggest, "...this is as vital and relevant as The Fall have sounded for a considerable length of time.[8] "

Lyrically, the record covers a diverse number of themes. On "Dr Bucks' Letter", thought to be a tribute to the American writer Charles Bukowski,[9] lead singer Mark E. Smith appears to dispraise superficial materialist modernity, stating, "I was in the realm of the essence of Tong", an oblique reference to British DJ Pete Tong. In the song, Smith lists the five things that he, or rather, that Tong, can't leave home without: sunglasses, music, palm pilot, mobile phone and Amex card. Elsewhere on the LP, Smith's lyrics discuss such issues as drugs on the ranting "Ketamine Sun", his aversion to roundabouts on "Way Round", and on the jazz-influenced "Pumpkin Soup and Mashed Potatoes", his favourite meal.

The Unutterable is notable for not featuring a cover song, something that has been included on at least one format of all the group's other studio albums from Bend Sinister forwards - although "Ketamine Sun" reportedly started life as a cover of Lou Reed's "Kill Your Sons", there is little musical similarity between the two tracks.

Track listing[edit]

All songs by Mark E. Smith, Tom Head, Adam Helal, Julia Nagle and Neville Wilding, except where noted
  1. "Cyber Insekt" – 3:19
  2. "Two Librans" – 3:57
  3. "W.B" – 3:30
  4. "Sons of Temperance" – 3:47
  5. "Dr Bucks' Letter" – 5:19
  6. "Hot Runes" – 2:18
  7. "Way Round" (Smith, Head, Helal, Nagle) – 3:21
  8. "Octo Realm/Ketamine Sun" – 5:36
  9. "Serum" – 4:56
  10. "Unutterable" – 1:05
  11. "Pumpkin Soup and Mashed Potatoes" (Smith, Grant Cunliffe, Helal, Nagle) – 2:54
  12. "Hands Up Billy" (Wilding) – 2:47
  13. "Midwatch 1953" – 5:32
  14. "Devolute" – 4:36
  15. "Das Katerer" (Smith, Nagle, Simon Wolstencroft) – 2:42

Personnel[edit]

The Fall
Additional personnel
  • Kazuko Hohki – vocals on "Cyber Insekt"
  • Steve Evets - vocals
  • Ben Pritchard - guitar on "Dr. Bucks' Letter" and "Midwatch 1953"
  • Grant Showbiz - backing vocals
  • Rob Ayling - executive producer; vocal on "Octo Realm" (uncredited)
  • Pascal Le Gras - cover art

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ The Guardian review
  3. ^ Mojo review
  4. ^ NME review
  5. ^ Time Out review
  6. ^ Uncut review
  7. ^ Simpson, Dave (3 Nov. 2000). Review. The Guardian.
  8. ^ Martin, Piers (Nov. 2000). "The Unutterable". NME.
  9. ^ Bush, John. Review. Allmusic. Retrieved 21 Feb. 2006.