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Plague Park

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Album Review

What sets Montreal's Handsome Furs apart from Wolf Parade, the band for which frontman Dan Boeckner is probably best known, is tempo. Where Wolf Parade dips into more than their fair share of upbeat, even disco beat-driven, indie rock, Handsome Furs instead pull back and strip down their songs. They're upright, elegant, and above all melancholy, swinging between sparse, mechanical blips and lush, throbbing walls of sound. The change of pace really fits Boeckner to a 'T,' if only because his vocal range is given a lot of room to spread out. It turns out Boeckner sounds a lot like Jeff Buckley, and that's not a bad thing; Shearwater also comes to mind, as much for the vocals as for the epic nature of this project, as well as Land of Talk, another Montreal band that concerns itself with making gorgeous, somber indie rock. But while Handsome Furs are as cerebral as these artists, they never get bogged down in pathos; they're fierce, and fiercely intelligent, and they want to hold your attention. For a song about a depressing small town in the middle of nowhere, "Dead + Rural" sounds practically exultant; it's Bob Seger meets Echo & the Bunnymen, all world-weary keyboards and triumphant guitars. This album concerns itself very seriously with the notion of "home" (leaving it, searching for it, and perhaps never finding it), but it's far from dreary; Plague Park is ultimately an uplifting work.

Customer Reviews

very impressive

Dan Boeckner nailed it. Buy this. A little too short, but the songs themselves are great and unique. I've always viewed Boeckner as the less talented half of the Wolf Parade singers, (that's only because Spencer Krug is one of the three best individuals in indie rock today) but here he really impresses. Out of the Krug-Boeckner canon, it ranks below Sunset Rubdown's Shut Up I Am Dreaming, above Swan Lake's Beast Moans, and almost on par with Wolf Parade's own Apologies to the Queen Mary. In conclusion, buy this.

So Perfectly Haunting

My co-worker played this album in the office, and my immediate thought was, "This is absolutely amazing - I love it..." Then I realized it sounded similar to Wolf Parade. Point being, this music stands on its own. It's ridiculously beautiful and spare and emotional and poignant... We listen to it in the office at least once a day, if not two or three times...

better than wolf parade??

this may be blasphemy but i definetly find myself wanting to listen to handsome furs rather than wolf parade who have usually been a playlist mainstay on my iPod. Im not gonna lie i think Dead + Rural and Dumb Animals back to back make this album amazing two of the greatest songs i have heard in my life....bold statement i know.


Formed: 2005 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The Montreal-based duo Handsome Furs formed in 2005 around the talents of Vancouver transplants Dan Boeckner (frontman of Wolf Parade) and Alexei Perry. The husband-and-wife team released the atmospheric Plague Park in 2007, utilizing drum machines and world-weary melodies to distinguish the band's debut from Wolf Parade's own output. Plague Park earned accolades for its electronic twist on indie rock, with Rolling Stone likening the band to "a dingy version of the Cure rocking some hipster dive...
Full Bio
Plague Park, Handsome Furs
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Customer Ratings