Few bands do a better job of capturing the eerie surrealism of 21st-century life than Handsome Furs. The act creates music that comes from an outside observer's standpoint, where each song is something of a foreign correspondent's small commentary or status report on the nature of things on the ground. Songs address the effects of socio-political issues and the personal loneliness that persists, even though we're all constantly connected and under surveillance.
These post-modern observations comprise the themes of Handsome Furs' new album, Face Control, a record that boasts minimalist drum-machine pulses, droning synth robotics, and gritty guitar yelps and squalls—the perfect sonic landscape for this type of relevant commentary.
But while many artists might take a staunch political stance in their music, Handsome Furs doesn't really strive to push a specific agenda. Instead, on songs like "Talking Hotel Arbat Blues," singer/guitarist (and Wolf Parade member) Dan Boeckner laments, "I don't know but I've been told, every little thing has been bought and sold" over a foundation of blues-based fury. The song draws from the same 20th-century pop-music constructs that we've all come to accept and incorporate into our modern, consumer-driven reality.
"We're just trying to comment on the experiences that we're having very personally," says the band's drum machinist/keyboardist Alexei Perry. "I don't have any political agenda myself. I don't really ascribe to any ideology in my life or in my work at all. But I do think that there is [something] lacking in a lot of the music that's being created right now. Especially within popular indie-rock music. [Musicians aren't] talking about the world we're living in. I definitely want to do that."
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.