Damned if Dan Boeckner and wife Alexei Perry aren’t determined to make their modest two-piece outfit, Handsome Furs, sound like a shit-thrilling orchestra of sorts. Listening to their music, I find myself easily imagining these two lovers patiently piecing together elegies of a forgotten natural world as they watch their hated “city” burn, smolder, and collapse before them in all its apocalyptic glory.
Their debut, 2007’s Plague Park, sounded effortless and thick, brimming to the edges with Boeckner’s romantic “fuck modernity” lyrics, acerbic sheet metal guitar, and Perry’s spacey, electro glitch keeping step. But at times, Plague Park appeared to have more than a little air in their songs after repeated listens. Some wondered how much variation could be had with their current guitar/synth set up, or if they were destined to slowly turn toward Wolf Parade-lite.
If the first couple tracks off the new album, Face Control(coming out March 10, 2009), are any indicator, their sound appears to be, thankfully, busting at the seams. Most noticeably, Perry has stepped her presence and then some. Her synth lines are no longer the skeleton crew grooves of Plague Park but have now mutated into a dynamic, multi-layered wall of sound. She now easily maintains a major presence in the album’s composition, as Boeckner’s Bob Seeger guitar and impassioned lyrics become equal placeholders to the Handsome Furs sound. It’s a more than welcome evolution for those of us who appreciated the brevity of Plague Park but were left wondering about this duo’s second gear.
The Handsome Furs come to Pittsburgh on March 31 at 9:30 pm at The Brillobox in Lawrenceville.