A huge part of the success of Wolf Parade’s remarkable 2005 debut, Apologies To The Queen Mary, was its duel songwriters, Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner, going back and forth on the record Hart/Mould style. It seemed though that more listeners were ready to deem Krug the band’s resident genius, while Boeckner took somewhat of a back seat to the former Frog Eyes contributor. OK, fair enough. Krug’s songs were certainly wildly enthralling, displaying a slightly erratic genius that hit many a soaring height. On the other hand, to me Boeckner was the band’s steady hand, adding a solid group of emotionally charged mini-anthems, infused with plenty of power chords and gritty Will Johnson-meets-Beck-meets-“Eddie and the Cruisers” vocals. Since the album Krug has been involved with several noteworthy side-projects (Swan Lake, Sunset Rubdown) while Boeckner has stayed quietly out of sight. Until now.
Boeckner’s new side project, Handsome Furs, will release their debut album - Plague Park - on Sup Pop May 22. The band consists of little more than Boeckner, his fiancée Alexi Perry, some loud electric guitars, and a new drum machine. Sub Pop had this to say about the record: “dark and minimal while noisy and earnest, the point was to be as sparse and repetitive as possible”. The two advance tracks I’ve heard, and available below for you to sample, certainly back off from Wolf Parade’s aggressive guitar approach. They are decorated with more electronics, but that should not suggest a calmer mood - if anything the heightened artificial surroundings add to Boeckner’s very real, intense, conveyance of his gruff paranoia. The songs are everything you‘d expect from the man responsible for half of one of 2006‘s best records, and suggest that Plague Park is certainly an album to look forward to.
MP3 :: Dead + Rural
MP3 :: Handsome Furs Hate the City
(from the forthcoming Plague Park)