Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Handsome Furs: Face Control

We know, we know: this record's been out for almost six months, and we're just so behind in just getting into it now. Well, tell you what kids: here at HAD we transcend that shit. Real music was made to last, and if you stumble on it six months late, guess what? Still good for consumption. As such, we're more than excited to have us some Handsome Furs.

We actually first got a taste of the band after The OCMD mentioned the awesomeness of the Furs' live show. That was enough to peak our interest and send us digging on myspace. When we did, we liked what heard, and decided that it was indeed time to pick us up a nice, fresh, sparkly copy of Face Control.

For those not in the know (don't worry, we're with you, like 90% of the time), Handsome Furs is a Wolf Parade offshoot, consisting exclusively of Wolf Parade member Dan Boekner, and his wife Alexei Perry. The fact that they're a duo alone is quite impressive: the band's records have an incredibly big sound, and through the extensive use of synths and drum machines, they manage to easily fill the roles of a "full band".

So then, what exactly is that band delivering? Well, it would be easy to classify it as post-punk, new wave electronic, and leave it at that. And, in some ways, the description would be apt: the band unquestionably has influences squared firmly in the sound of early 80's England. But, that being said, they also manage to transcend their debt to that genre with a sound that is far more accessible and impassioned.

Where many of the original new wave bands were rooted firmly in a cold, calculated sound, Handsome Furs definitely have a gift for very user friendly melodies and hooks. While many of the samples and beats could be seen as derivative, they manage to escape that dead end by infusing the derivative framework with Boekner's enthused vocals, and guitar lines that recall other, far more mainstream bands.

The result of all this is that the Furs' manage to create a record that is at the same time experimental and accessible, calculating yet friendly, and unquestionably memorable. While we have to say that our fave track is the album's leadoff "Legal Tender" (below), the entire record has a sense of unity that makes it an automatic candidate for repeat plays. Often we find ourselves humming one of the record's tunes much later in the day, and not able to place it, only to realize that the Handsome Furs have inundated themselves far more thoroughly than we had ever expected, and that's a very good thing.

mp3: Handsome Furs - Legal Tender


the OCMD said...

Hey! Glad you like it. Be sure to check out their first album, In Plague Park. Face Control is good but In Plague Park is my favorite.