Monday, June 21, 2010


I saw Fur at Donovan's in Mexicantown earlier this year as a three-piece and was impressed with their sound. Though there seemed to be a physical/visual wall between the band and the audience, the sound was engulfing. Driven and dark, with lead vocalist/guitarist Ryan O'Rourke's downward slouchy gaze adding to the darkness but defying the drive, the band was connected and full. I really enjoyed what I heard. I downloaded their debut EP last week, and throughly enjoyed what I heard there, too. For a first release it sounded precise, well-mixed and professional--not at least due to the fact that they recorded at Tempermill Studios in Ferndale. Okay, I'm going to forgo the restraint and admit that I think it's one of the best debut releases I've heard from a Detroit band in the past few years. The songs are all energetic and moody, a kind of mix between Black Mountain and Interpol. I love the fact that bass and drums are heavy in the mix, and the vocal sound pushes Ryan's unique voice into an integral instrument instead of a showy top layer (especially in the second track). Drummer Zach Pliska is a very solid player, and the songs emphasize this. He leads in the opening track, "Here's to the Angels (West-Coast Swag)", which explodes into this oddly catchy distorted rock tune. The second track, "Pretty Thoughts", really illustrates Fur's connection to dark psychedelia, tom-heavy and distorted, but then adds this weird Killers-esque synth part (by newest member Johanna Champagne) that I actually really dig as an addition. The closer, "Foxtrotsky", is more atmospheric but builds on the toms again. "Foxtrotsky" is what I think Muse might sound like if Muse had any talent, creativity, rawness and edge. Michael O'Connor's bass lines in this one are spectacular, a saxophone just barely makes it into the raging end of the song, and the music is just well-written all around. Kudos to Fur for putting out an incredible first release. I really look forward to hearing and seeing more in the (near) future!

You can download Fur's EP for free on their website, and you can see them at the Belmont in Hamtown on June 25th (Friday), with Rogue Satellites, Beekeepers, and The Savage Seven. You can also be friends with them on their Facebook.