Monday, May 18, 2009

Handsome Furs: Face Control

Artist: Handsome Furs
Album: Face Control
Date Released: March 10, 2009
Genre: indie rock
Rating: 8.2

Canada’s Handsome Furs released their second full-length on Sub Pop records this past March. Face Control boasts twelve thumping post-everything anthems. Their distinctive scratchy style persists throughout the record with each track urging the anticipation of the next.

Take the trend-setting "All We Want Baby, Is Everything" which rings out with a fantastic array of minimalist instrumentation; its juicy guitar tones and thudding electronic percussion cuts seamlessly throughout the track. This song introduces a new angle to indie-pop execution -- and at times it sounds akin to the airy characteristics of a few superb U2 songs.

The Handsome Furs' creative consistency bleeds into the proceeding track, "I'm confused," which enters with a soaring drone until the 16 second mark when it blossoms into an addictive groove that melts into a forceful guitar phrasing reminiscent of Franz Ferdinand.

Face Control doesn't have a single dull moment, but I personally feel the album reaches its heights within its second half. The eeriness of snippet track "White City" kicks this off well as it progresses into the bounciness of the following track, "Nyet Spasiba."

The album is brought to a close by a pair of explosive tracks: "Thy Will Be Done" serves as one of Face Control's best, its highs and lows emphasize passions within the album while also serving as a vocal performance peak. Fans of Wolf Parade and Swan Lake will immediately recognize the characteristic vocal style of Dan Boeckner.

The destructive entrance from final track "Radio Kaliningrad" breaks out with a wall of sound until tasteful tunefulness begins to leak from its grip. The song takes off into a mixed bag of noise and melody backed by groovy guitar work displaying some mighty and fantastic riffs. It's a catastrophic yet musically powerful ending.

Face Control is simply a great piece of work, one that's as fierce as its artwork.

Reviewed by Leigh Padley.

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