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The Psychedelic Furs (Bonus Track Version)

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iTunes Review

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.)

Customer Reviews

Funny how things work out

The Furs debut is the only Furs album to own. India, Imatation of Christ, and Soap Commercial are my favorites, not to mention Susan's Strange and We Love You... Although other Furs efforts on later albums do produce some gems, it seems that artists of this era could never recapture the edge that gave them their original voice - and often fell back into repeating themselves, or worse, becoming a parody of themselves. I remember listening to this stuff when it first came out, as a California kid who flirted with punk, but was drawn as well to ska and the then so called 'new wave' at the time, I satisfied myself that although the first three U2 albums were good, they would sell out to the mainstream. I though Echo & the Bunnymen and Butler's crooning would never have mass appeal, and therefore fit me since sub-pop was what I wanted - not wanting to follow a crowd. Yet, on a later Furs record, they would release "Pretty in Pink" and that in turn was destined to become a teen movie title for one of many John Hughes films... even ugly ducklings have their day... As Ghost in You proved me wrong as how far into Pop the Furs would go. So hopefully iTunes brings this back to the market.

The best Furs album by far

This album didn't have the hits that later albums had, but it rocks! It's got a harder edge and moodier feel than their poppier, more polished albums. Gotta love the frenetic post-punk "Fall," the gothy "Wedding Song" and "Sister Europe," the catchy "Flowers," and the pseudo-upbeat "Susan's Strange." My favorite Furs album, then and now.

A Must Own Album

There is no one who can match Richard Butler's vocal Velvet Sandpaper delivery.


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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