The duo of
Handsome Furs began as an idea in the winter of 2005, and currently consists of
residents Dan Boeckner and Alexei Perry. Boeckner also sings and plays guitar
in Wolf Parade and before that did much the same in Atlas Strategic, while
Perry maintains a career as a writer. Dark and minimal while noisy and earnest,
the fabric of their record together was just as informed by late nights as it
was by Scandinavian black metal. Truly, the point of creating Handsome Furs was
to be as sparse and repetitive as possible with the help of little more than
vocals, guitars, and a new drum machine. Through this, songs of earthbound
captains, eggs made of gold and iron, and sleepless bodies were born.
Boeckner’s affected vocals thinly resonate as they are ushered in by a frenzied
undertone of fear and uncertainty, all punctuated by drum machine beats.
Through the course of each track, a deep-seated sense of longing struggles with
staunch realism as a restless disdain for both urban life and smaller towns
Furs Hate This City,” for one, shouts out against the blasphemy of everyday
life while wrestling apathy into a verbal chokehold. It floats by like a
stilted daydream of desire, popping in and out of consciousness. The lush
“Sing! Captain” reaches comparative heights, all awash in restrained static yet
remaining comfortingly human as Boeckner intones, “Feed them wire, feed them
chrome / We hate this place here, it’s our home.” Followed up by the triumphant
“Dead + Rural,” it would be easy to collapse underneath the weight of the
sound, wide-eyed and world-weary. What is offered here ultimately creates an
edifice of time and place, and upholds the matter of perhaps seeking a home
between the two, if such a thing exists at all.
Furs booked a tour of Europe before writing
any songs, and have since opened for the likes of Paavoharju, Islaja, David
Cross, and Modest Mouse before releasing a proper record. Recorded with Arlen
Thompson at Wolf Parade’s studio, Mount
Zoomer, in the heart of December, Plague Park
is their debut. It is a record of melancholic tendency and heartfelt desire; restless
and nomadic, it’s a stripped-down symphony roaming between city and country,
and made for ears of either side.