HANDSOME FURS: Sound Kapital


Sub Pop

The world-travelling duo of  Dan Boeckner and Alexei Perry who make up Handsome Furs are undeniably handsome and quite possibly furry. Both these qualities manage to find their way into this worldbeat techno pop sound and help save the act from their worst 80s selves.
Debut album. Face Control hit hard on both sides of the ocean, its tales of cold and desperate love struggling with synth passages that just wouldn't play it straight, sounded fresh and confident.
Overnight success only served to push them further off the beaten path. If the debut was Eastern-European inspired, Sound Kapital does very well by Southeast Asian and Chinese inflections, Which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the sounds of those places which impact the Furs; what’s here can be read as the sound of the Furs interpreting the visuals and ambient noises of those cultures.

Worked over by Boeckner and Perry, the ever-flowing neon nightscapes, energy and street noises of Manila, Bangkok and Beijing are the jumping off points for Sound Kapital.
The tinny synth jangle is just right for suggesting the ringing of thousands of bicycle bells. In most cases, the songs are all about the electronica with Boeckner’s guitar used mainly to highlight and accentuate but rarely lead.

The opener’ Get Back’ is a fair indication of the ride you’re in for, with Boeckener’s cigarettes and gravel vocals etching into a jittery neodisco groove. The thing checks in at better than four and a half minutes, all the better to nail its blend of dance floor groove and post-punk angst firmly onto your listening parts.
Once the direction is set, the rest doesn’t disappoint, with the brilliant ‘Memories of The Future’ and ‘Repatriated’ highlighting the set.

While the arrangements make things sound a little same-same in parts, the Handsome Furs’ swagger and sense of adventure add up to an album which easily sidesteps the sopohomore curse.

Handsome Furs play Toronto’s Tne Garrison 1 a.m. Saturday.

Lenny Stoute