Psychedelic Furs to Rock Culture Room
Director John Hughes both championed and obscured the Psychedelic Furs, and it's a wonderful shame. On the soundtrack to Pretty in Pink, Hughes caught the Furs when they were at their absolute best and, in the ears of most music listeners, cemented them there for all time. With the title song, the Psychedelic Furs captured perfectly the spirit and sound of a decade deeply indebted to its arty, punk-informed precedents yet vying for its own claim to the pop throne. Many bands ended up with watered-down, gentrified stabs at a hard edge or else clumsy and blockish forays into the rounded corners of shimmery pop, but the Furs were more adept at the blend.
Perhaps it was the band's deep and abiding affection for the darkly poppy sounds of early Eno and Bowie that allowed them to twist the fabric of space/time to create something with the muscle and grit of punk but the sensitivity, sheen, and spirit of pop music. Bravo. Good for Hughes, and good for the Furs. Unfortunately, to fully understand what the Furs did, you have to pull them out of the cultural wormhole that is the Hughes legacy and listen to the band on its own terms, all the way from its first heated forays into blistering, noisy avant-rock to its unfortunate devolution into whitewashed synth-pop slaves. Nothing Rhymes With Orange opens.
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