For some reason, husband and wife musical teams always create good shit. Maybe it’s the chemistry that’s already naturally there? Or it could be the opposite, with fights and hot make-up sex acting as the catalyst of such electrifying tunes. Whatever the case is, the Canadian duo of Dan Boeckner and Alexei Perry that make up Handsome Furs are on point for their third full-length release, Sound Kapital.
The married musicians have intensified their electro-pop vibes and have written the entire album on keyboards in addition to using drum machines in an effort to provide a human aspect to the often cold and de-humanized experience of electronic music. The conscious decision to change-up their musical routine not only made Dan find a new way of expressing himself other than the usual method that required a guitar, but also allow the duo to write on the road. The result is a 9-track album filled with music reminiscent of ’80s electro, when the genre was still in its infant stages. It’s as if a musically yummy jambalaya was made taking the best from The Psychedelic Furs, Depeche Mode, OMD, and New Order. Loads of political themes and personal ideals also lie beneath the surface to their songs, but for those who just enjoy good music, won’t be disappointed.
“Memories of the Future” has a very OMD-ish beginning with its dazzling array of synths excerpts that bring some nostalgic tingles to your ears (in terms of lyrics, too). What’s interesting is the lyrical content that hints at the duo’s dislike of retroness, despite having a very retro electronic sound that hints back to the simple days of the genre. Whatever, it’s a good tune nonetheless.
Moving on…”What About Us” is another goodie with lyrics of broken hearts set to upbeat tunes…edgy and raw content thrown to the forefront of beautiful symphonies of danceable, poppy beats. Juxtaposing forces make for quite compelling music. “Repatriated” starts with synth-heavy beats and is a very meaningful song about never wanting to return to one’s country of birth (which is the opposite of the actual definition of the song’s title), a reference to the duo’s political views about being part of a bigger movement of “artists who dare to defy authority.”
“Cheap Music” is a bit edgier, with a hard-hitting bassline and lots of heavy guitar riffs and definitely different from the previous tracks. It’s more like indie rock, than indie pop. It’s an interesting and out-of-the-blue transition from previous tracks. “No Feelings,” the last track starts off with the same indie-rock feel thanks to its intense guitar intro, but then changes course back to bubbly synths before blazing white-noise guitar strums appears right in the middle of the song, adding some melodic confusion for the listener.
What starts off as a very synth-happy album, ends in a sensory whirlwind of musical chaos that totally throws you in for a loop. Given the album’s intent that calls for social upheaval by its members, Handsome Furs’ Sound Kapitol inspires many emotions from within thanks to its addictive beats and moving lyrics. It will keep you tapping your toes and nodding your head in musical compliance.
Words: Kristie Bertucci