Published Feb 25, 2009Like the cleaned-up, courteous 18-year-old who returns from the military an adult, it's evident that Handsome Furs have learned much from their tour of duty, discovering the world and making comrades while supporting their 2007 debut, Plague Park. Wolf Parade front-man Dan Boeckner and partner Alexei Perry return with an album full of scrapbook-type anthems and clear-headed melodies, demonstrating that this version of Handsome Furs are a little savvier and much more decisive. Clearly influenced from their journeys to Eastern Europe, Face Control as an album could be considered darker and colder. Songs like "Evangeline" and "Thy Be Done" spill with the fist-pumping, anthemic rock usually associated with everything east of Berlin. "I'm Confused," while featuring a generic structure and stiff chorus, surprisingly works well; it's a testament to the overall dynamics and confidence Face Control exudes. The dense and anti-climatic instrumentals strewn throughout the album actually add to the energy. The LP doesn't stray too far from what Handsome Furs laid down first time around with Plague Park, except their music is much leaner, sharper, cleverer and more rewarding. Face Control is what every music fan essentially expects follow-up albums to be.
Can you tell me about the new record?
Boeckner The first album was written mostly on acoustic guitar when we were living together in a bachelor apartment. This album was written on electric guitar, and after a few tours around the world.
How do you decide which songs will be used for a Handsome Furs album rather than Wolf Parade?
Boeckner: All of the songs for this album were written with Alexi around the same time. I usually write my songs before going in to record the album.
I see that there's an Easter European influence.
Perry: Growing up in Canada, and seeing what I saw on the news in Eastern Europe, and then when we played shows in that region, we were treated so warmly. Like, [they are] some of the nicest people I've ever met. I've never hugged so many people in all of my life. It was such a positive experience.
Is it unique to record with someone who shares virtually every experience in life with you?
Perry: Because we are a couple and a two-piece we get to experience things quite differently and I feel very lucky about that. I mean, we're two different people but it makes writing together much easier. (Sub Pop)