Handsome Furs are a Montreal-based wife/husband duo whose sophomore album, Face Control, dropped this week to a round of applause. While hubby Dan Boeckner’s main gig at the helm of Wolf Parade has earned him a loud fanbase, we never really took to that group’s layered — and labored — sad-sack indie pop. Likewise, the first Handsome Furs record felt a little flat, its spare sound verging occasionally on the snoozy. Not so, this time around.
Boeckner’s better half, the short-fiction writer Alexei Perry, adds a propulsive undercurrent of gritty keyboards, which make even the most emotive vocal passage feel like a rave-up. Kicked into high gear, Boeckner’s reverbed, rockabilly yelps and assertive guitar licks chart a path from the brain to the gut, shifting seamlessly between thoughtful and visceral in the space of a single song.