For The Unutterable, Mark E. Smith settled in with the (mostly) new lineup that debuted on 1999's The Marshall Suite and recorded yet another gorgeous, rambunctious, only occasionally scrutable masterpiece. Though it's not overly chocked with new ideas (especially for those already well-versed in the Fall canon), The Unutterable benefits from excellent songwriting and the crisp production of soundman extraordinaire Grant Showbiz, on loan from Billy Bragg. The far-too-short opener "Cyber Insekt" immediately launches the listener into a dense, chaotic soundworld that's only amplified throughout the album. The heavy rockabilly guitars and pummeling drums heard on The Marshall Suite are practically overwhelmed by the rich variety (and quantity) of synthesizer effects accompanying most tracks. And whereas most Fall albums have little explicit humor (though much implicit in the lyrics), Smith even sounds downright pleasant on the hilarious technology send-up (and Charles Bukowski tribute) "Dr. Bucks' Letter," laughing through a few of his lines over a heavily distorted bassline that's closer to percussion than harmony. The brief track "Octo Realm" is also fun (each of the bandmates takes turns introducing different characters in odd voices), though it prefaces a hazy, heat-stroked rant named "Ketamine Sun" (one that definitely earns its title). Despite a few tracks whose blueprints have been heard on countless Fall LPs in the past (just listen to the jaunty garage stomp "Hot Runes"), and a dangerously wizened-sounding Mark E. Smith on several tracks, The Unutterable is another excellent work from a band that, by all rights, could've burned out before some of their youngest present-day fans were even born.
AllMusic Review by John Bush