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Album Review

Likely exercising the same controlling approach that he was notorious for, from his work with every act from the New York Dolls to XTC, Todd Rundgren brought in legendary backup vocal duo Flo & Eddie as well as a cellist, two horn players (including NRBQ member Donn Adams), and himself on keyboards. The end result is simply fantastic, fusing the post-punk charge of the first two albums (Ely still sounds great as always, from the first song on, while Tim Butler acquits himself well on bass) with a new synth-based approach that works wonders. Ashton's guitar often settles back in the mix a bit to allow Rundgren's wall of sound to come together fully, often with great success. The title track is a great example of this, an inspirational anthem where Ashton fully and appropriately lets go right at the end. The most well-known song is one that, for the Furs, was their most atypical single to date: "Love My Way." Butler's very Bowie-like vocals and lyrics slyly celebrate and ponder the triumphant synth rock scene of the time, while Rundgren's often quirky keyboards take the lead in place of Ashton's guitar and Flo & Eddie wordlessly vocalize at the end. "Goodbye" has a brisk, horn-driven punch underscoring Butler's wickedly sour au revoir to a past love; "Sleep Comes Down" mixes Tim Butler's lovely bassline and Rundgren's piano; "President Gas" wryly takes a shot at Reagan while avoiding obvious platitudes; and "Yes I Do" ends on an almost sweetly romantic note, even as the cello/drum-driven arrangement surges along.


Formed: 1977 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The Psychedelic Furs, whose name was inspired by the 1966 Velvet Underground song "Venus in Furs," were formed in England in 1977 by brothers Richard Butler (vocals) and Tim Butler (bass), along with saxophone player Duncan Kilburn and guitarist Roger Morris. By the time they released their self-titled debut album in 1980, the group had become a sextet, adding guitarist John Ashton and drummer Vince Ely. That album, featuring Butler's hoarse voice (the tone of which suggested John Lydon without the...
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