The Psychedelic Furs (Bonus Track Version)

The Psychedelic Furs (Bonus Track Version)

This, the Psychedelic Furs’ debut album (recorded in late 1979), feels like an exercise in controlled excess — the listener senses all the elements straining to be even bigger, fuller, louder, but they are (wisely) reined in. The original sextet included not one but two guitarists, creating a powerful current of chiming, radiant chords; saxophonist Duncan Kilburn lets loose with generous helpings of belligerent bleats and emotive melodies; Vince Ely’s forceful drumming style, and the overall “live feel” production of the album, imbues the collection with a palpable energy; the gravelly howl of vocalist Richard Butler (and his admiration of both Andy Warhol and David Bowie) adds a rich layer of drama to the band’s post-punk experimentations. The result is something that feels… supersized (to use a newly-coined adjective), with a pulse that still races wildly all these years later. From the pounding opener “India,” to the more delicate and complex “Flowers” (the demo version) at the end of the collection, the relevance of the Furs and their first effort becomes clear: the album stands as a critical achievement. Extra tracks here are unnecessary — but highly welcomed — icing on the cake. (One extra track, “Blacks/Radio,” is hard to find, and was not included on the original American release of the album.)

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