Handsome Furs Ditch the Guitars 

Handsome Furs
Sound Kapital

(Sub Pop)

Dan Boeckner's voice, weathered and worn, splintering under the weight of its own sincerity, was divinely created specifically for rock and roll. Because of it, Handsome Furs, Boeckner's Wolf Parade side project with wife Alexei Perry, always read as a rock band despite an ever-present drum machine. That perception, though, was certainly augmented by his slashing guitars. With their third record, Sound Kapital, they've ditched unkempt riffing entirely for a quick and dirty LP written on keyboards. The vocals still bleed punk, but the backing tracks feel like dancing. At times it sounds eerily like what you'd imagine Springsteen covering Suicide would sound like, as opposed to what Springsteen covering Suicide actually sounds like (the Boss has been known to break out a genteel piano version of "Dream Baby Dream" from time to time). There are also moments, like "Serve the People," where the repetitively mashed synths recall Spencer Krug's powerful early Wolf Parade compositions, the ones Dan wasn't allowed to sing on. Strange that copious creative space and distance eventually brought him right back around. Boeckner's never been a wildly inventive lyricist, and a lot of the slogans here are pretty banal under close scrutiny. But he's got gravitas that makes even dead phrases sound dead serious, and occasional adroit lines sound like kick-ass mantras. If there's better war cry with which to attack the indie landscape of the 2010s than "Nostalgia doesn't mean much to me" from "Memories of the Future," I must have forgotten.


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