Psychedelic Furs - Forever Now
The Psychedelic Furs were one of those bands who seemed to be bedevilled with frequent line-up changes. As is so often the case, such line-up changes did nothing to enhance the band or its music. One could argue, indeed it is a view that I would share, that the Psychedelic Furs peaked with the release of Talk Talk Talk and were never able to achieve that degree of brilliance again. Line-up changes were undoubtedly a contributory factor. They were not the only one, but it is with line-up changes that I will start.
Guitarist Roger Morris and the distinctive saxophonist, Duncan Kilburn, left the band after Talk Talk Talk. That made a huge impact on the band and resulted in a reduction of the quality of the music and the sound. The Furs as a four piece were simply not the same band as the powerful and innovative sextet of earlier albums. It would not be a statement too far to say that this was one instance where the change of line-up had a discernable effect on the sound.
It may have been this which influenced the second factor which prevented Forever Now from becoming anything like its immediate predecessor, and that is the production. Whereas the first album had suffered from under-production, Forever Now suffered from exactly the opposite. Talk Talk Talk hit the balance just right between the dense Spector-esque wall of sound and the clarity which enabled the listener to pick out individual contributions. On Forever Now the sound was just too slick, especially where Butler's voice was concerned. Often criticised, Butler had a limited vocal ability to put it mildly. But his voice was distinctive, and lent a lot to the sound the band created. By tinkering with it in production to make it more, dare I say, tuneful, that distinctiveness started to ebb.
And in answering why the production would change so dramatically, one hits upon the third major factor. I had always seen the Furs as a post-punk band, which is how they started out. But when they crossed the pond following the chart success of "Pretty in Pink" in the States, they morphed into a pop band and were largely seen as such over there. The difference was important because the production values were entirely different. Add to this the fact that half the band moved to the States and half stayed in London, and the tensions in the band would begin to build.
And in this way, the three factors which caused such a dramatic change in the band between this album and its predecessor all merge together into one. In short, the Psychedelic Furs of Forever Now was not the same band as the Psychedelic Furs which had created Talk Talk Talk - in any sense of the word. It was something which would bedevil the band for years to come. After Talk Talk Talk I found it became increasingly difficult to identify with the Psychedelic Furs, or write a review of their albums. When this album, and its predecessors first came out, I loved them. I did not notice, until much much later, that the Furs were going increasingly poppy in their output. "Run and Run" is a great track, no doubt about it. However, the main single off the album, "President Gas", in many ways typifies this trend. It lacks musical quality of the first two albums in terms of the melody. It comes across as much more laden and plodding. This was sadly a feature of their work which was to resurface more and more on future albums. The more the Psychedelic Furs strove for US chart success, the more I went off them.
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on 2011-05-02 CharlesMartel Said:
Now touring the UK - finally - after the tour last year was called off when Butler broke his arm