Even in the worst of economies, there’s no excuse for cheap music. With its 2007 debut, Montreal’s Handsome Furs appeared promising: a husband-and-wife duo out to inject the ol’ girl-boy electro archetype with a dose of artful experimentation and actual instrumentation—and it didn’t hurt that singer Dan Boeckner had warmed his pipes in Wolf Parade. Face Control represents the undoing of all of that. The Furs’ second album is only promising in that it’d be difficult for an otherwise-talented pair to follow it up with something worse. Everything about these songs feels lazy, from the sludgy rock and tinsel-thin beats of “Evangeline” to the couple’s weak approximation of The Knife on “(White City)” to the half-assed “Dancing In The Dark” paean at the end of “Legal Tender.” Boeckner executes a good Springsteen, but he seems to miss what Arcade Fire’s Win Butler clearly gets about aping the Boss: 1) you’ve got to have heart, and 2) Bruce was never meant to be heard over low-fidelity electronic sleaze. Evidently Face Control is a concept album about modern man’s “long-distance relationship with the world,” but surely these two didn’t plan on embodying such a literal disconnect. This is easily the most flavorless fruit yet to fall from the Wolf Parade family tree.
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