Under Review: Handsome Furs – Sound Kapital

If the progress between Plague Park and Face Control wasn’t proof enough that Handsome Furs are more than just a side project, then maybe the announcement of Wolf Parade’s hiatus following the release of Expo 86 is. Guitarist Dan Boeckner, like his on again-off again bandmate Spencer Krug, is a man of numerous projects beyond Wolf Parade. Handsome Furs has been Boeckner’s other main bag since 2005. Boasting a more electronic-focused sound than his other groups, Handsome Furs also features Boeckner’s wife, Alexei Perry, on keyboards and drum machines. Their upbeat, synthetic sounds are complimented by largely un-manipulated vocals, keeping Handsome Furs’ music from becoming too outsider-y. The couple’s love for industrial and dance music of the ‘80s keeps their hooks in order, too. With each album, Handsome Furs has grown into a more focused (not to mention acclaimed) outlet for Boeckner and Perry’s distinctive musical voices.

Sound Kapital, the third album from Handsome Furs, is their first to have been written entirely on keyboards. This slight change in method has shifted their sound from electro-rock to pulsating, Berlin Wall-crumbling new wave. Many of the album’s songs were inspired by the Furs’ trip to Southeast Asia, where similarly minded bands are forced to keep their art under wraps under threat of punishment by oppressive authorities. Feelings of tension and a desire for an uprising carry through songs like the militaristic “Serve The People” and the aggressive “Cheap Music.” While the album isn’t a downer, it is distinctly dark in ways that few contemporary electronic albums are. Even standouts like “Repatriated” and closing track “No Feelings” aren’t necessarily party starters. Then again, that’s not really the kind of music the Furs deal in. Instead of just catering to your hips, the Handsome Furs go for your head and heart, reminding you of your freedom by exposing you to those who have none.

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~ by E. on August 19, 2011.

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