Handsome Furs Explain the Sonics of 'Sound Kapital' and Clear Up That Whole "No Guitars" Business

Handsome Furs Explain the Sonics of 'Sound Kapital' and Clear Up That Whole 'No Guitars' Business
With the release of their third album, Sound Kapital, today (June 28), Montreal pair Handsome Furs have embarked on a fairly substantial cross-continent tour. The album is more electronic than previous releases, but as the band's Dan Boeckner and Alexei Perry explain in a recent Exclaim! interview, there's more to it than that.

To say that the album is more dance-oriented than previous Furs records, says Boeckner, is "an accurate assessment. Face Control is really, like, rock arrangements with a sequencer playing the bass drums. We were hinting at that with Face Control; when we were touring it, we were listening to a lot of electronic music and club music, and [Sound Kapital] was the record we wanted to make."

So, yes, it's more electronic, but that doesn't mean Boeckner's trademark squalling guitars are gone. "It's weird," he notes. "When we were finished the record, we did a bio, and the 'written entirely on keyboards' became the pull quote from it. I think that's really influenced the way people have heard this record, because in a way, it's dance music, and it's very dance-influenced, but there's only one song on the record that doesn't have guitar on it! And a lot of the songs have shrieking feedback on them that's louder than anything that was on Face Control. It's just arranged differently, but because of what was said in the bio, that's how people perceive the album."

Perry adds, "We've been noticing different reviewers, if they're from a more punk or rock background, they'll be like 'Aww, we miss the guitars,' but it's like, 'It's in there! You're full of shit, you just read the bio!'"

As proof, Boeckner cites Sound Kapital closer "No Feelings": "The last song has a two-minute, Sonic Youth-style guitar meltdown in it! Which, again, was louder than anything on Face Control."

Still, the new record is different enough that the band feel like they've finally found their sound. Boeckner explains: "I felt like when we were writing these songs, and the way we were writing them, arranging them with keyboards and really paying attention to the drum programming, there was this real sense of excitement where we'd write something and we'd look at each other and be really excited, and I felt like the band had finally evolved into what we wanted it to sound like. it's been a process over the last three records. I'm really, really happy with it."

Adds Perry, "It takes a long time to figure out how to make the kind of music you want to make, and I feel like we are making it, right now, which I'm proud of."

Listen to Sound Kapital track "Repatriated" below and pick up the album now on Sub Pop. Also, read Exclaim!'s newly published magazine feature on Handsome Furs here.

Handsome Furs - Repatriated by subpop