“A flight of crows, my insect heart / The ticking veins, this godless dark / The druggy days, the pointless pain / The letterbox that’s full of rain”…
These are the first words you can hear in the new The Psychedelic Furs’ album in 29 years, Made of Rain. The song, opener “I Am the Boy That Invented Rock & Roll” – premiered at The Rooftop at Pier 17 on July 12th in New York (QRO photos) during their latest North American/European tour in late 2019 – it’s pure Psychedelic Furs lyricism.
You would expect them to be mellow, as most bands become when they’re in their late 50s (look at that band they were fighting with in the ‘80s, U2), but this is not the case with the Furs. On the opener, the anguish you can feel from Paul Garisto’s drum pattern and the wavering guitar of Rich Good, the ominous bass sounds courtesy of keyboard master Amanda Kramer and underrated bassist Tim Butler and the flickering saxophone by Mars Williams set the tone for many of the things we’ll hear from now on.
Somehow compared to The Cure and The Church in their taste for melancholy, sadness, electricity and expansion, any listener will feel there is a bit of everything in the vinyl grooves or the zeros and ones.
There’s nostalgia, not for old time’s sake, but for when things seemed to be simpler, when we all thought things would stand the test of time – “Don’t be surprised when all these houses fall to dust” Richard Butler sings on “You’ll Be Mine” – there’s quiet disappointment in the atmospheric “This’ll Never Be Like Love”; also, there’s a sense of autumn majesty in “Turn Your Back On Me”; and there’s the nocturne preciousness of the closer, “Stars”.
The songs are not monolithic, they actually sound extremely solid at all times and that’s thanks to the unity of the band, and that sort of flow you get when the band is tight. And this is a very tight band.
A band that draws from the main traits the Furs used to have in the ‘80s and early ‘90s: swagger, elegant decadence, density, invention, but with the added bonus that, even though they came from that era, this doesn’t sound at all like a rehash of sounds and lyrics. As a matter of fact, it could well be a continuation to both the Furs’ discography or The Furs’ timeline including Love Spit Love’s two records, as some fans have done, without 20-odd years in the middle.
The real achievement of this record is to not sound indulgent, to offer a lot of variety to the listener – who will definitely feel their money is worth every cent – without sounding like a mere catalogue of songs; and also being a record that can be listened from beginning to end or each song individually, a real rarity nowadays.
Yes, as some suggested, there’s a lack of a real stand-out single, but Made of Rain will satisfy older fans – like yours truly – and will bring new fans to the fore, that kind of listeners who are bored with the lack of real guitar, electric, moody, fighting, daring music at the moment.
Now, please guys, don’t take another 29 years to make another one!