Handsome Furs 

Sound Kapital

It's not easy to keep track of all the Wolf Parade side projects, which, like the original band, seem perpetually to hover on the verge of genius. The verge of genius is also known as boring, and both Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner have released boring albums in the past. For every "I'll Believe in Anything" there is an At Mount Zoomer, and even the most dedicated listener is tempted to shop one track at a time. That's why the new album from Boeckner's Handsome Furs is so thrilling. It's got two or three great songs on it, and then the other songs are really good.

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And you can dance to them. Sound Kapital was recorded entirely with synthesizers and drum machines, leading many to worry that the Furs would collapse into inert electronica. But tracks like "Serve the People" and "Bury Me Standing" exploit the atonal palette of dance while preserving the driving backbeat of rock, to fantastic effect. Much of the momentum is attributable to Boeckner's vocals, which evoke just enough Springsteen to add emotional force to the weirdo instrumentation. Like the East Bloc that is its aesthetic touchstone, Sound Kapital proves that alienation is a feeling, too.

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