It began, ostensibly, by trading the scenery of one hemisphere for another. It ended (as inevitably as all good things must) in the recording booth of Montreal’s Mount Zoomer Studio. What Handsome Furs co-conspirators Dan Boeckner and wife Alexi Perry have delivered from the inspiration of vast frozen lands shivers with the cold and often alienating hand of these uncertain modern times.
Face Control, the couple’s second full length, cozies itself against the hearth of abstract minimalism and is chock-full of Boeckner’s scraggly post-punk guitar spasms. Perry answers the long-standing question “what can’t a drum machine do?” with a resoundingly humble `nothing.’ This brand of stark, post-millennial fatalism, certainly not new by any means, resonates all the more saliently alongside the oncoming wave of global financial collapse. But far be it from me to be a downer or anything.
Following a trip to the former Soviet Union, Boeckner and Perry took solace in the animus to animate their experience, projected thoroughly through a prism of early 21st century paranoia and closets brimming with Cold War skeletons. Hearing Boeckner wail in his crackling bellow that “the future is sleek” on the excellent “Nyet Spasiba” amid disintegrating guitar bursts and persistent, mechanical beats smacks of welcome, prophetic irony. As a sort of homage to some of their most telling influences, both in the mysteriously Joy Division-like riffs and New Order’s indelible electronic tinkering, Handsome Furs succeed where many recent followers seem to flounder; by actually invigorating the genre rather than outright copping it.
At its ever-beating heart though, Face Control (a practice used in swanky Russian nightclubs to only admit attractive people, go figure) is a `rock’ album, strongly in the vein of the Boss and other distinctly Western chug-a-lugs (see “Legal Tender,” “All We Want, Baby, Is Everything,” or “Radio Kaliningrad”). Far be it from me to recommend spending hard-won money in these dithering economic times to buy something as non-essential as music, but then again, who pays for music these days anyway? Face Control is surely worth the download (the future really is sleek, after all).
MP3: “I’m Confused”