Handsome Furs – Sound Kapital Review

A message built from a distant future where many ideas seem eerily current.

Handsome Furs – Sound Kapital (2011) – 7.0 / 10.0
: Sub Pop

Most readers familiar with Handsome Furs’ latest album Sound Kapital know that the above cover art is not the ‘true’ cover art. But for the sake of sparing some innocent person’s Google search leading to the original cover image of a woman providing full frontal nudity (handsome fur included), I’m using the Amazon provided album art. While Sound Kapital‘s cover art rebels against moral decency, much of the album rebels against a dystopian future, one that our own country could be headed toward as social and economic unrest collides with protest groups connected through social media. Something must come to a head, and Handsome Furs examine what that could be.

Handsome Furs is the husband/wife duo of Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade, Atlas Strategic) and Alexei Perry. They wrote Sound Kapital entirely on keyboards, a new experience for Boeckner as his choice of instrument is usually the guitar. The result is an album that’s electro-pop without being pop. There are no upbeat, jaunty tunes that you’ll want to bounce along to. Conversely, YACHT’s 2011 release Shangri-La explored similar themes to Sound Kapital but did it with a smile. One could argue that Boeckner and Perry are being overly pretentious with an album that takes itself too seriously, but why shouldn’t this material be handled seriously. Considering our current issues with political bodies refusing to agree on any issue and protesters taking to the streets, Sound Kapital plays like a call to arms and raised awareness.

“Bury Me Standing” makes it apparent that no one should be resting while the world around us is going to hell. Or at least resting in Furs’ “imagined” future. On “Serve The People”, Boeckner sings of a law enforcement that serves political powers rather than standing up for the citizens. I hope we never get to that point (wink, wink). Boeckner’s line of Privileged thieves going to make things run is especially poignant and well written. While the album’s nine tracks could serve as nice club jams, Boeckner doesn’t let his guitar collect dust. He uses it masterfully on “Cheap Music” to provide some much needed bite lacking in other songs. Sound Kapital closes with the obligatory six plus minute track “No Feelings” to end the album in epic fashion. As Boeckner sings, I’ve got no feeling repeatedly, it brings to a light a scarier truth — we could be heading toward an emotionless, unfazed society that accepts every action or decision made by those in charge. Though Sound Kapital‘s message is built from a distant future, many ideas seem eerily current. And unfortunately, there are no songs that depict a happy ending.

Handsome Furs – What About Us (Uncensored) OFFICIAL VIDEO from Sub Pop Records on Vimeo.

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