Handsome Furs, 'Face Control' (Sub Pop)

Critical Mass
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by Jessica Suarez

Most of Handsome Furs' promo photos show members Alexei Perry and Dan Boeckner (also of Wolf Parade) crawling all over each other. But they're old-fashioned romantics -- married, in love, and fighting to stay that way. Their 2007 debut captured the bleaker aspects of modern life, but here they find optimism in "Talking Hotel Arbat Blues" and "All We Want, Baby, Is Everything." The difference is like listening to a heartbeat instead of an EKG: Face Control's programmed electronics, in fact, ring deeply human, and Boeckner's tortured vocals express shared experience rather than alienation. Even the album's Cold War backdrop can't cool their romance.

Listen: Handsome Furs, "I'm Confused"(DOWNLOAD MP3)

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