The Psychedelic Furs, “Made of Rain” (Cooking Vinyl)
There’s a comforting familiarity to “Made of Rain,” the Psychedelic Furs’ excellent new release and their first studio album in 29 years.
The British band made a splash in the mid-’80s with alternative radio hits like “Pretty In Pink,” “Love My Way” and “Heartbreak Beat” before disbanding for nearly a decade. After some side projects, they returned to the concert circuit in 2000 and issued a 2001 live album with a new studio track.
Until now, 1991’s “World Outside” was the last in a series of studio efforts with many more peaks than valleys, so getting back to recording after such a long a break could have presented the Furs with numerous risks and obstacles, especially how or if to update their sound for this new phase.
Fortunately, and, considering their catalog, even expectedly, “Made of Rain” is immediately recognizable as the work of the Butler brothers’ band, with Richard singing as good as ever and Tim’s bass underpinning their intense melodicism and packed arrangements.
While master guitarist John Ashton from the band’s classic era is not back, Rich Good has over a decade’s worth of experience in the Furs and his layers of strums are a big part of the sonic continuity, as are Mars Williams’ saxophone, Amanda Kramer’s keyboards and Paul Garisto’s drumming.
Songs like the intense “The Boy Who Invented Rock & Roll,” the dramatically alienated “No-One” and the desperate but romantic “Hide the Medicine” are all worthy of inclusion on the Furs’ next greatest hits selection.
The Butlers’ David Bowie influence is still in happy evidence, too, like on “Wrong Train” and its modern inconveniences, while the inconclusive finality of “Turn Your Back On Me” echoes Bowie’s “The Next Day” 2013 comeback.
Once live concerts return, it’s possible fans will want to hear the ‘80s songs first, but those from “Made of Rain” will fit right in on any of the Psychedelic Furs’ setlists.