I often get emails from bands asking me to listen to and review their new album/EP/song; and I always get a slight feeling of trepidation as I open the website or download the tracks, before the first listen. It’s an amazing relief when what comes out of the speakers is, musically speaking, a bit of a gem, and so it was with the Fake Furs’ debut EP -1. This Los Angeles two-piece (Laszlo Bolender – Vocals, etc; Sonny Wong – drums, etc), describe their particular brand of noise as “dirty velvet rock”, and it’s actually a pretty accurate approximation of what you can expect from this EP: fuzzy, distorted alt rock with a dash of perfectly complimentary glam rock and electro on the side.
Opener “Everybody Singing” starts off with minimal sound on the verses, showcasing instantly that blend of glam and alt rock with a mixture of throbbing guitar sounds and hand claps. It may be a testament to the strength of the verses, but the chorus feels like it falls a bit flat on this song, it just doesn’t feel like it builds into the all-out rock it should. However, the pretty much perfect instrumental section towards the end more than makes up for this, with its bizarre squealing, atonal electronic snippets of sound over the relentless guitars and drums. This is the pinnacle of the song; building it into an addictively stompy pop rock number, with Ladytron-esque elements of disco.
“I Died but I Revived” is faster paced, with a nice punk rock edge provided by the chugging of the guitars and a more frenetic, spiky vocal performance from Bolender. There are elements here that remind me of UK based bands like Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster and Pink Grease. Fake Furs showcase all the bite and surrealism of these bands whilst simultaneously producing undeniably catchy hooks more consistently than either of them. This song has a wonderful, relentless rolling rhythm all of its own, surely guaranteeing that it will be a sure fire hit in a live setting, certain to promote a lot of jumping around and general craziness.
“Dedication” is the most experimental song on offer here and, appropriately for something that sounds this epic, it is the closing track. It kicks off with the thudding of the guitar and drums, providing a counterpoint to Bolender’s smooth vocals floating over the top, “Can you hear me? / Can you save me? / Don’t forget me/ Don’t deny me/ What you wish for is salvation, what you wish for is a dedication/ What you wish for is a celebration, in your name, in your name.” This grand opening leads to a quieter section, with beautiful echoing guitar picking out a melody underneath the refrain, “Look at yourself, where have you gone? /Look at yourself, what have you done?” This soon gives way to the infinitely creepier almost whispered refrain of “The end is on its way/The end is on its way”, which heralds the introduction of a swelling, expansive wave of pulsing guitar and crashing drums which indeed does carry us to the end of the song and of the EP itself.
This is pretty impressive stuff; in particular the band show a real flair for the more catchy, electro-rock numbers like “Everybody Singing”, and I’m really hoping that any future full-length release will contain a substantial helping of this. Also striking is their ability to create such complex, textured recorded music with only two members; some real thought has obviously gone into the sound they want to have. I do wonder though whether they have to strip everything down slightly for live sets and become a bit more punky and raucous – not that this would be a bad thing. Overall, this is great stuff and well worth a listen; they’re certainly going to be an interesting band to keep an eye on over the next few years.
You can listen to the EP at their website below, and you can also download it for whatever price you care to pay – so, no excuses then.
Band website: http://www.thefakefurs.net/