The Indie Equation

The Unholy Marriage of Music and Math.


Equation #28: Handsome Furs

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Handsome Furs

If you're not paying close attention you'd assume that Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner are the same person. If they were two guys in totally different bands that weren't from Canada then you'd never suspect that they might be sharing the same throat. But put them both together in Wolf Parade and they sound exactly the same. The same warbly, yelping cries, the same manic, half-drunk shivers come from each of their mouths and it blends very well together. Now, until recently I truly thought that there was only one singer in Wolf Parade, until I started collecting family tree projects; Sunset Rubdown (Krug), Swan Lake (Krug), Atlas Strategic (Boeckner)and now Handsome Furs (Boeckner). I thought they all contained the same singe person from Wolf Parade. I thought wrong. Dead wrong.

Ok, that's a bit dramatic but seriously, these Canadians and their band orgies. It's no wonder that Wolf Parade moved from Victoria to Montreal, they were probably hoping to garner a spot in Broken Social Scene. OOOOO SNAP!

But anyway, this review isn't about Wolf Parade anymore than this review is about delicious cupcakes. This review is about Handsome Furs, which is not Wolf Parade, it's close, it's got a lot of the same crunchy grooves, but Handsome Furs is only two people who are getting married and play instruments while Wolf Parade is 4-5 guys who are (as far as I know) not married to each other. Right, so have I made it clear yet that Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs are not the same band but are similar on many levels due to it being a side project of one of the key members? I have? Good. Stop asking me about Wolf Parade, I'm trying to do a review here.

What makes Handsome Furs so different from Wolf Parade (ha! You can't stop me! I don't care who you are!) is in the earnest emotion in the delivery. Boeckner has always sounded emotional (or "emo") when singing but the music hasn't always matched that level of sincerity. Forming a band with his fiancee must have been the right move to bring the noise down to a more personal level. The songs often sound as though they were created and performed simply for the enjoyment of the creators, though that's not to say that it's not enjoyable, accessible rock that jumps and grinds and wheezes like a sweaty desert wind. Simple guitar, simple drum loops, simple melodies end up creating a complex sound that masks the lack of a full backing band. Plus I'm sure multi-tracking helped a bit. Tracks like "Handsome Furs Hate This City", "Can't Get Started" and "Dead + Rural" have the obvious helping hand of a robotic rhythm section, though it doesn't detract from the rustic, arid feel of the music. Though tracks like "What We Had" and "The Radio's Hot Sun" feel more analog there's still an element of modern clicks and whistles giving the whole album a anachronistic feel. Kind of like Blade Runner or the uniforms in the original Star Trek.


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