Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug both know how to write some seriously catchy melodies. It was one of the things that made Wolf Parade so enjoyable - particularly on last year’s ‘Expo 86’. They did not mess around as far as melody was concerned, and Boeckner’s decided to continue in that direction for the new Handsome Furs album, while Krug has decided to try something slightly different with his new ‘drone-pop’ project, Moonface.
‘Sound Kapital’ has a bit more in common with what came before than one might expect. Basically, if ‘Expo 86’ had been written entirely on keyboards, it would have sounded more than a little like this. It’s that prog-pop album’s synth-pop younger brother, in a manner of speaking, albeit with one crucial difference: by the end of its first song, there’s the impression that it can’t possibly get any better, but it does.
‘When I Get Back’ is only the tip of the iceberg as far as ‘Sound Kapital’ is concerned. Handsome Furs consists of a husband-and-wife duo: Boeckner and Alexi Perry. As that might suggest, they have great chemistry. They’ve brought their absolute best to the table, and the only thing that’s changed is their sound. The quality remains at the same high standard. Most bands of this ilk would kill to have a song as good as ‘Memories of the Future’ anywhere in their canon.
The focus is on big hooks and even bigger choruses, but Boeckner’s lyrics are not afraid to bite, as heard on ‘Serve the People’ and the withering penultimate track ‘Cheap Music’. This doesn’t get in the way of what is a fantastically summery album. Handsome Furs’ new minimal sound works wonders for them, but they’re not afraid to let go for a bit, and the remarkable closer ‘No Feelings’, clocking in at around seven minutes long, is proof of this. Boeckner’s ‘day job’ are on hiatus now, but ‘Sound Kapital’ gives the impression that there’s more than enough up his sleeves to keep things ticking over until Wolf Parade hopefully get back together - you might call it a case of third time extremely lucky.