Perfectly aged and dignified
Set in a bohemian-style living room, a person takes out their “vintage” record player and look for their best Bowie album. Friends come and attempt to dissect each song, with some political banter on the side. Alternative rock has bred this generation not foreseen by previous rock groups, but if one were to psychoanalyze the roots of today’s alt-rock legends, The Psychedelic Furs would be a common influence for many.
Since their first album in 1980, The Psychedelic Furs have morphed their band’s sound into an intoxicating combination of harmony, nostalgia and ecstasy. Perhaps best known for their hit “Pretty in Pink” (which John Hughes debatably tried to adapt in his movie Pretty in Pink, sort of) the Furs maintain their ’80s new wave vibe without changing with society in their newest album, Made of Rain.
As the first track on this suspenseful rollercoaster, “The Boy That Invented Rock & Roll” is a stellar combination of The Psychedelic Furs’ raw, yet suave ability to merge a heart-racing beat with a smooth and jazzy outro. Mars Williams’ essential saxophone cuts the track into two, leaving enough room for people to wonder what the rest of the album contains. This is also the case with “Don’t Believe,” a magnificent soundscape capable of moving anyone emotionally. Its stilted saxophone accents and delayed guitar riffs create a certain lust not present in other tracks.
The second song, “You’ll Be Mine,” has an interesting hollow sound, in which lead singer Richard Butler illustrates the desire each lyric suggests. With his brother Tim Butler’s holy bass riffs, this track is nothing but lovely. With beautiful bass riffs once again, “Ash Wednesday” is a mellowed track mixed to perfection with the band’s original sound and dark undertones.
For their classic edge sound, “Wrong Train” and “This’ll Never Be Like Love” are nostalgic and aggressive, driving the harmonious ambiance the band is known to create. Their creative art permutations are what make their music original, and this is evident in Made of Rain. “No-One” and “Turn Your Back on Me” contain The Psychedelic Furs’ definitive musical impression and signature sound, while boasting new lyrics. These are bound to be cult classics.
“Come All Ye Faithful” is perhaps their track of variance. As a ballad mixed with hollowed jazz saxophone and the Furs’ signature aggression, this track is bound to be a hit. Suspenseful, dark and haunting, this song is more than just an affirmation of how The Psychedelic Furs can remain original and still produce their music with style.
To slow the song speed down, “Tiny Hands” is a contrasted track of light rhythms and echoed instrumentals, with the nostalgia of their earlier albums. As a beautiful homage and melodic song, “Hide the Medicine” is compassionate, with a dark undertone. Rich Good’s delayed guitar maintains the emotion this track needs to slow the album down. This also occurs in the final track, “Stars.” Both the distorted guitar solo and Amanda Kramer’s elegant keyboard magic suspend this track (and album) into further decades of listening.
After 30 years of silence, The Psychedelic Furs continue to create seamless soundscapes, with tremendous swooning melodies and their trademark aggression. Made of Rain is unbroken, dignified and hearty, like a nicely aged whiskey. Its uniform sound has its peaks and depths but illustrates their originality and untamed creativity.