What’s a Type A personality to do when he’s splitting his creativity between other bands and can’t find time for a home life? For Dan Boeckner, already firmly ensconced in Wolf Parade and Atlas Strategic, the solution seemed almost too obvious — he started Handsome Furs with his wife, keyboardist and short story writer Alexei Perry.
On the band’s debut, 2007’s Plague Park, the pair opted for chilled minimalism, a clear counterpoint to Boeckner’s noisy day jobs and an arm’s-length reflection of his lyrical theme of 21st century alienation and contempt for societal boundaries. On 2009’s Face Control, the husband/wife duo, inspired by an Eastern European tour, roughed up the sound with more Blues-tinged guitar while retaining an icy synth pulse and dour lyrical perspective.
It was every bit as bleak as Plague Park, but a sparse spoonful of Pop sugar helped the medicine go down.
On Sound Kapital, the Furs once again tapped influences absorbed on their European/Asian tours (often in sketchy political areas with support bands that risked arrest for culture crimes), revisited ’80s Eastern European ElectroPop/Industrial ringleaders and Boeckner relied solely on keyboards to compose, forcing him from his six string comfort zone. Consequently, Sound Kapital shimmers and shudders with the hellbent throb of Ian McCullough fronting Tubeway Army at an OMD tribute, roaming from the relentlessly poppy “When I Get Back” to the visceral synth-punched “Damage” to the perfect ’80s club homage, “Memories of the Future.”Like the era’s best synthesists, Handsome Furs sets a bleak outlook to driving Electronic rhythms, creating sounds that are magisterial, thought provoking and danceable as all hell.
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