The Psychedelic Furs

Made of Rain

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Made of Rain Review

by Tim Sendra

After spending nearly two decades as a reliable concert draw playing the old hits to crowds happy to hear them, the Psychedelic Furs decided as the 2010s came to a close that the time was right to record some new music. After two quick sessions spent recording a few older, but mostly newly written, songs, the band's eighth album, Made of Rain, was ready to share with the outside world. It's a largely melancholy record that doesn't harken back to their nervy post-punk days, or their shimmering synth pop days, or even their dance-rock heyday. Instead, they go for a spit-shined modern sound that is sure to sound good in large halls and small arenas. The powerful rhythm section, subtle keyboard flourishes, and layers of guitars provide a suitably dramatic backdrop for Richard Butler's impressionistic lyrics and impressively unchanged vocals. His world-wearily sardonic vocals sounded old before their time when he was young; now that his age and voice finally match, they sound remarkably sprightly and powerful. His nimble phrasing and cockeyed asides are still magical after many decades, and even if the music on Made of Rain isn't always as inspiring, his presence alone makes it worth hearing. The standout tracks like the ruefully soaring "Wrong Train" or the darkly tough "Don't Believe" have the same spark as the band's best work, matching Butler's voice with impassioned and jaggedly forceful music. Strong ballads like "Ash Wednesday" and "Stars" have a subtle touch that allows the full power of Butler's yearning vocals to cut through the mix. A full album of songs with this kind of energy and/or feeling would have been a miracle; it's not surprising that it falls a little short. Too many songs hang around in a kind of midtempo gloom that gets a little heavy, and instead of using the saxophone to provide texture, Mars Williams' soloing wrests the spotlight away from Butler far too often. These minor issues aside, Made of Rain is a fine and sometimes inspired comeback. It may not be Talk Talk Talk, Pt. 2 or Forever Now again, but it proves the Furs still have plenty of life left in them, and it's always nice to hear Richard Butler's voice no matter what the setting.

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