Album: Don’t Believe
Artist: The Psychedelic Furs
Label: The Psychedelic Furs Partnership
Non-Airable Tracks: NONE
Description: Usually, the big artists in the music business cycle in and out along with the sounds and trends of their respective decades. Most of the time, this results in the artists calling it quits entirely, or stepping out and back into the scene every once in a while to release a new single or EP, but not a major release. Here is where The Psychedelic Furs’ story gets interesting. The English alternative rock band found success in the 80s with hits such as “The Ghost in You” (featured in the Emmy Award winning series Stranger Things), “Pretty in Pink” (which inspired the movie of the same name), and “Love My Way” (featured in the Academy Award nominated film, Call Me By Your Name). After the release of their 1991 album, World Outside, The Furs went on hiatus so that the band members could focus on their own projects, and re-formed in 2001 as a touring band. Now, almost 30 years after releasing their last album, The Psychedelic Furs have broken the silence with the announcement of their new album Made of Rain (May 1, 2020), and the release of their newest single, “Don’t Believe.”
The song opens with the grimy squeal of a guitar, which almost sounds like someone’s opening an old door (coincidence, I think not). Not long after, the track explodes with the style that made The Furs famous to begin with, blending acoustic instruments with electric ones. In this case, blaring saxophones are layered on top of an emotional, slower guitar melody. The melancholic tone cannot help but make listeners wonder what exactly a band with more than 40 years of experience cannot believe, especially when 29 of those years have been quiet. Lead vocalist, Richard Butler, re-enters the musical plane, expressing his frustrations with the material things in life, such as “money’s got the medicine,” and “I wanted what I’ve never had, you get it and it’s gone again.” Then, Butler expresses his grievances about living in a world full of oblivious people, which is also under the control of an invisible hand. Despite these observances, Butler still wishes that the subject of his song would believe him instead of the corrupted world around both of them.
Butler continues his vent in the second verse, when he confirms the late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell’s claim that “times are gone for honest men,” conveying disapproval towards “promises [being] bought and sold.” The song adds a technophobic tone to it as Butler reveals that “everything [he’s] never said comes crashing on [his] tiny head.” This particular lyric could be a sly reference to the black box algorithms that personal devices use. For instance, a user who may have searched a specific topic once, with a debatable interest in said topic, suddenly finds it popping up everywhere around them via the device’s suggestions. Butler makes another sly statement to follow up, stating that “nothing down here’s ever free.” Of course, material possessions are not; and now, Butler raises the question that everyone must ask themselves: in this day and age, is anyone really free? For the last half of the song, the first parts of both verses are repeated, which is followed by a coda that consists of the chorus, layered on top of the verses, layered on top of the instruments, which have remained fairly static throughout the song.
Overall, “Don’t Believe” serves as a nice introduction to those who may not already be familiar with The Psychedelic Furs. It also serves as a reminder to those who are familiar with The Furs about what they originally loved about the band. Although “Don’t Believe” tends to play it safe musically and its story is fairly short, it provides the listener with enough food for thought that will have them taking another listen to try and catch things that they might have missed the first time. The Psychedelic Furs’ eighth album, Made of Rain, is scheduled to release on May 1, 2020, and I would keep a lookout for any more singles that could be heading our way in the future.
Sounds Like: Modern English, Adam Ant, Oingo Boingo
Reviewer’s Name: Nick Ramos
Date of Review: 02/11/2020