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Made of Rain - The Psychedelic Furs - Album Review



 
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Dr Van Helsing

After almost 30 years, the Psychedelic Furs have released a new studio album. As a life long fan, I have been eagerly awaiting this release. I was concerned that the absense of original guitarist John Ashton might mean a different sound for the band. Happily, it has not. The Butler brothers, Richard on vocals and Tim on bass, who still form the core of the band, have managed to create a classic Psychedelic Furs album that fans will thoroughly enjoy! The band for this album is rounded out by three longtime touring and recording members, former Information Society member Amanda Kramer on keyboards, saxaphonist Mars Williams, and drummer Paul Garisto, who also played with the band on the Midnight to Midnight album. On guitars is Rich Good, a British musician that forst started playing with the band on the road in 2009. While not doubting Good's skills on the axe, I was worried that the sound of John Ashton would not be there. Not only is it there, but Good captures the Roger Morris sound, ties it in with Ashton's, and makes it his own. Good's guitar work provides a perfect back drop to Richard Butler's iconic vocals.


This is the Psychedelic Furs album be have needed and wanted and damn the band delivers. From the opening song, The Boy That Invented Rock & Roll, you are taken back in time. This album reminds one of all the past albums without being derivitive of any of them. Track two "Don't Believe" contains the Butler lyric style that if I were more prone to consiracy theories, I would swear contained little tributes to past Furs songs. Money, Weather, God, Heaven, Honestly, Promises...words all used to great effect in earlier Furs songs. The song istelf reminds me more of the material coming from Book of Days or World Outside and just might be my favorite from the album so far. "You'll Be Mine" is another one that takes me back deeper into the Furs catalog. It feels like a song that would feel like a perfect fit on either Talk Talk Talk or Mirror Moves. It sounds like a fairly straightforward simple song, but when you really give it a good listen, there is a lot going on there. It's Beautiful Chaos to steal a description of the band from their early days.

I was pleased to see "Wrong Train" appear on this album as it has been a stalwart number for them on tour for years now. Not going to lie, I like this polished version a lot better than what I heard on tour. Not to say that the live version was bad, I just like this one better. "This'll Never Be Like Love" is depressing from a lyrical aspect. Richard Butler sings the title throughout the song cut by small slices of main lyrics, yet despite the somber tone of the song, Good's guitar and Mars' sax playing at the end give the listener a bit of hop that all is not wrong with this relationship. "Ash Wednesday" for me is the "All Of This And Nothing" track of the album. What I mean is, this is the track that once listened to multiple times, is going to become one of those deep cuts the listener is drawn to time and time again. I might have preferred this one to be the album's closer, but I don't hate it's placement on the album.

"Come All Ye Faithful" contains my favorite lyrics so far from this release.
Come all ye playboys
You druggy mothers
And watch it rain on me
I love the sax on this one, almost has a haunting tone to it.

"No One" is another favorite from the album and just might have the best lyrics of the whole collection.
"Tiny Hands" showcases Amanda Kramer's piano skills. True music fans will recall her amazing skill from the 10,000 Maniacs unplugged concert. I do wish this song had been a bit longer though as the lyrics left me wanting more. Who is Tiny Hands? Which leads us to "Hide The Medicine", another song that sadly is short on lyrics but still manages to put out a powerful image. One of the things that drew me to the Furs in the early 80s, was the lyics of Richard Butler. My biggest critique for this album is the minimalist approach to words. Don't get me wrong, the music is gorgeous and the band is as tight as ever. As a fan...I'm selfish and I want more Butler lyrics for me to dive into and try and interpret. Additionally, and I'm not 100% sure of this, but this song might be the first Furs song I've heard with another voice singing other than Richard's. All other songs on previous Furs tracks with backing vocals have been done by Richard. To further emphasize the minimalist lyrics, "Turn Your Back On Me" follows the same path.

Closing out the album is a song called "Stars". Musically, this might be my favorite. Richard Good seems to be having the most fun with his instrument on this one as we can hear in the instrumental closing of the song. Again, the lyrics are minimal, but man what a fun one to listen to.

This is the album Furs fans, 80s alternative fans, Rock fans, and music fans wanted and needed. It's already receiving recognition and I have to echoe another reviewer that said "It's not a comeback." Indeed, the band has been touring since reforming in 2001 after taking a break in the early 90s. They've taken the perfection of their live shows and trasferred it to Made Of Rain, delivering a soundscape of musical beauty. Made of Rain is a combination of all previous Psychedelic Furs albums and yet stands on its own. This is the product you expect from a band deserving of, but not yet in, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Let's hope there isn't another 29 year wait for the next Furs masterpiece.

August 25, 2020 05:40 am

Sir Stephen

Excellent! Always loved them.

August 25, 2020 05:50 am

Marah Whitmoore

Awesome loved their music

August 25, 2020 12:27 pm

Quinn Whitmoore

They sound cool but never heatd of them

August 25, 2020 12:52 pm

Briahne Christiann

I have always enjoyed PF's music, from the 1980s on ....this new album is just as enjoyable as the rest of them, thank you for "plugging"  me back onto them.  I thought they stopped long ago.  Good thing I am wrong.  This album is great!

August 26, 2020 02:36 pm
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