Handsome Furs is not your typical couple that’s decided to give the music thing a try. That they’ve tied the knot isn’t even of paramount importance — married or not, the two of them kick some serious ass. Former Wolf Parade member Dan Boeckner has laid his band aside and paired up with his rocking lady, Alexei Perry. For Handsome Furs’ third album, Sound Kapital, Boeckner decided to challenge himself and eliminated guitar from their musical arsenal. In an album about metamorphosis, this alteration seems fitting; the Montreal natives wrote the album as they traveled through Myanmar, the Philippines and other parts of Asia.
You can hear the unrest upon listening to the very first track of Sound Kapital. It opens with Boeckner dramatically announcing that he won’t be the same anymore over the rhythmic clap of drums on “When I Get Back.” The seventh track, “Repatriated,” echoes a similar sentiment. The drum machine pounds over fast flying synths as Boeckner proclaims, “I’ve seen the future/I’ll never be repatriated.” It’s an album about change and discomfort in rapidly shifting times. The record is restless, frustrated and eager for change. Boeckner and Perry call for social upheaval with pointed tracks like “Serve the People” and “Damage.” The real treat is the seven-minute album closer, “No Feelings,” which breaks down from a slow-moving chant into delicious musical chaos in a seamless transition.
Despite the self-enforced musical limitation and changed perspectives, Sound Kapital isn’t much different from the group’s 2009 effort, Face Control. Much of the album is simplistic, cheerleaderish chanting over synth-laced beats and is often repetitive. But despite sometimes-predictable song construction, the album holds listeners’ attention until it’s over, charging through like a pep rally. Handsome Furs inspire many things, but boredom is not one of them. This album doesn’t stray far from the formula of their previous work, but it isn’t disappointing. It goes down smoothly and will keep your toes tapping until the very last beat.