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!