CD Review: Sound Kapital [2011]

 Handsome Furs
Release: 6/2011
Label: Sub Pop

1. “When I Get Back” – A-
2. “Damage” – B+
3. “Bury Me Standing” – B+
4. “Memories of the Future” – A-
5. “Serve the People” – B+
6. “What About Us? – B+
7. “Repatriated” – A-
8. “Cheap Music” – B+
9. “No Feelings” – B

Comments: If you’ve been listening to the Handsome Furs for the past couple of years (longer, even), you’ll notice that this record swims comfortably in a known sea. Sure, there is no known guitar recorded on this LP. I’d argue that some of the synths create a fuzz reminiscent of a Dan Boeckner guitar (“Cheap Music”), but let us not get caught up in this. “When I Get Back” is getting back to Face Control. Not that they ever departed from it. It’s luscious pop, dance-y, layered, and anthemic. It’s hard for the Furs to mess up their music. Their sound is habitually one of slickness and compactness. That’s why I love ’em. Sometimes they do border on recycled songwriting, principally in structure, but I’d be hard pressed not to say this isn’t common for a lot of bands. Repetitive song endings are Boeckner’s go-to-guys and as ubiquitous as they are (on Sound Kapital and in the past), they remain exciting. Case in point would be “Damage,” which doesn’t really get GOOD ’til the end. A tune like “Memories of the Future” is for sure one of their most electro-dominant. There are a bunch of subtle sounds, some very wobbly and bass heavy, others as delicate as the touch of a toy piano. There a couple of tracks that either overstay their welcome, or simply aren’t as memorable or deserving of multiple listens as others. I do give the band a lot of credit for cutting things off after nine songs. Smart decision. The dance party of Sound Kapital is one that people will remember for being consistently joyous. It’s not an earth shattering dance party nor is it one to elicit boredom.

Grade: B+ (88)

Handsome Furs play @ Brighton Music Hall on August 17. 

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