Album Reviews

The Psychedelic Furs: Made of Rain – “shaking off the burden of nostalgia in favour of pastures afresh”

After years of touring their back catalogue, The Psychedelic Furs return with their first album in 29 years.

Debatably the frontrunners in amalgamating post-punk with new wave, The Psychedelic Furs have evaded us with new music since 1991’s World Outside.

Having toured constantly since 2001, cynically, the terms “nostalgia” and “cash grab” haven’t been too far from our minds when the band’s name has cropped up over the past 19 years.

However, having embarked on a UK tour last year, things were different and those pessimistic notions quickly receded with the news that Richard Butler and Co. were indeed working on new material.

The result is Made of Rain. So strong, it simply begs the question. Why so long the wait?

Having both joined the band in the 2002 and 2009, respectively, Made of Rain is the first album to feature keyboardist, Amanda Kramer (Information Society) and guitarist, Rich Good (The Pleased). The pair add new dimensions of sound to The Psychedelic Furs‘ arsenal.

While the song’s title may raise a few eyebrows, The Boy Who Invented Rock & Roll is a clash between classic Psychedelic Furs and the modern day version. Spatial melodies, soaking reverb and skronking sax’ dominating the barnstorming opener.

The shadowy synth drone of lead single, Don’t Believe, followers and is equally as instant with more gilded saxophones helping shape the song into one of Made of Rain‘s highlights.

The Psychedelic Furs - Made of Rain

Mixing acoustic verses with riff-heavy choruses, The ‘Furs unleash all of their weapons with Wrong Train. A rich representation of a band that has moved forward with new ideas instead of retreading over their past.

The balladeering moments on Made of Rain are equally exciting. Meandering through a world soaked in saxophones and synths, This’ll Never Be Like Love and the rich piano-led Tiny Hands don’t fall short or feel empty, both hitting their mark perfectly.

“It may be broken/Love lies murder,” sings Butler on Ash Wednesday – perhaps the prime cut from Made of Rain. With a slow-motion melody that seeps into your pores, the track takes several dramatic turns with heavy synth and echoing riffs demonstrating the new ‘Furs as something elusive and essential.

Drenched in a reverb haze, songs like No-One, Hide the Medicine alongside the atmospheric majesty of Turn Your Back On Me are driving numbers and songs the likes of Echo and The Bunnymen have been trying to write for at least the last decade (and failing emphatically).

While Made of Rain may carry some excess (Come All Ye Faithful and closing track, Stars), after 29 years without new music, this is only a minor gripe.

Unlike so many others from their era, Made of Rain showcases The Psychedelic Furs moving with the times, shaking off the burden of nostalgia in favour of pastures afresh.

Having spent the last two decades touring the world on past glories, these concerns have been tempered by Made of Rain. An album that doesn’t look out of place one bit in 2020, which begs the question – what took them so long?

Made of Rain is out now via Cooking Vinyl.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

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