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coverpic flag Canada - Full Moon 151 - 01/11/09

Handsome Furs
Face Control
Sub Pop / Tuba!

Face Control is the second album from Handsome Furs, a Canadian electro-rock duo comprised of husband and wife Dan Boeckner (of Wolf Parade) and Alexei Perry. And they show that Montreal still has a most interesting and vivid indie scene.

Where their excellent debut album Plague Park had this dark undertow, Face Control has a much lighter approach in the rhythms. They have changed the almost introvert and claustrophobic beats with much broader and in a way cooler soundscapes. But that doesn't mean they are more easy-going or less subtle.

As I said Face Control might be experienced as cool, or chilly. And the music is cold and raw with beating electronic beats. The constantly interrupting steel sound of the drum machine. The disturbed guitar, fuzzing away in what just seemingly is the wrong direction. But yet the music isn't all that alienating as it may sound. It is just as disturbing and slightly confused as the modern digital world may be.

It probably is a bit misguiding to say that Handsome Furs has delivered a concept album here, but yet there is a theme line of digital confusion in the songs that actually brings the album together as a whole. And even if I miss the outstanding single track like "Dumb Animals" on Plague Park, I do think that this wholeness makes this record an even better album.

And there is by all means also strong tracks here, like the very danceable "All We Want, Baby, Is Everything" that has this promising touch of happiness. The pure rock inspired "I'm Confused". Or the more desperately longing upbeat songs "Officer of Hearts" and "Thy Will Be Done", that also brings forward some hope in this electronic wilderness.

Even if Face Control is a cool album, in every meaning of the word, it also delivers a liberating feeling of possible freedom. A freedom in music and in life. Handsome Furs manages in their enharmonic way to remained you of that actually there are good things in life. Like this album, that is just that - good.

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