Now Hear This: Sound Kapital by the Handsome Furs
Ever since the Handsome Furs released their first album, Plague Park, in 2007, they’ve had an adept ability to fuse somber folk, alt-country, and post-punk stylings with rampant electro beats. The Canadian husband-and-wife duo (Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade and Alexei Perry, respectively) have just released their third full-length album, Sound Kapital, on Sub Pop.
While pulsing beats are still the main focus of the sound, the Furs’ folk and alt-country subtleties have been replaced with ’80s-style synth reminiscent of New Order. According to the album’s press release, the pair is attempting to reject the notion that electronic music can be cold and apathetic “with every fiber of their shared being.” Seems a bit melodramatic, but nonetheless it’s a goal that ultimately falls short. Tracks like “Damage” race through themselves and are infinitely more unfeeling than any song from past albums. The hollowed-out space that gives the Furs such a unique sound is missing here. But “Bury Me Standing,” and “Serve the People,” nail the band’s evolution perfectly: Guitar and beats meet in the middle and join hands with pop-minded vocals.
Boeckner’s voice naturally lends itself to melancholia, so I would hesitate to say that any of these tracks are upbeat — though it’s apparent that the Furs are indeed attempting to morph their style into one charged with more feeling. And ultimately, despite the slight sonic departure, it works.
Catch the Handsome Furs on Wednesday, August 17, at Brighton Music Hall, 158 Brighton Ave., Allston, 617-779-0140, brightonmusichall.com.