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Fur Coat

Mind Over Matter

(Crosstown Rebels; US: 18 Sep 2012; UK: 17 Sep 2012)

Review [6.Feb.2013]

This is that real minimal shit that you love. No seriously, you love it. Don’t talk to me about Skrillex! He is gauche, a handful of musical snot extending a hearty handshake, but Fur Coat’s mini-mini-minimal tracks will sound just as… um… monolithic to questing dancers in the year 3001 as they do to today’s global jet-set. You know how a rock from a thousand years ago is still hard? (Unless it’s no longer a rock but sand or something?) Same idea.


Despite the nice young lady wearing the coatimundi on the cover (mind the claws!), Fur Coat refers to the electronic music output of two Venezuelan men who specialize in rocking dark, strobe-lit, slightly moist clubs packed with lightly tattooed individuals who should remember to hydrate. Drums and bass play a big role, sometimes the only role. Their debut full-length Mind Over Matter occasionally spices things up with burbling synth ostinatos or acid squelches designed to liquify your limbs, and the DJs really enjoy sinister voices that echo out of your psychotic nightmares. Oh, and there’s some digital ping pong ball that starts bouncing midway through “Those Days”. OK, so maybe there’s more going on here than just drums and bass, but it’s not like you’re gonna put this on for listening pleasure. “Pleasure” is a dirty word with this music—although, given the transgressive bare-tittied nature of their album art, not to mention their improper use of a coatimundi, dirty words are probably de rigueur with these heathens.


Even the most pleasure-denying parties must invite some guests, and Fur Coat doesn’t disappoint: their guests deny pleasure hard. The coquettish Rap Lisa doesn’t rap; she sings “Pettit Pillow” in a little baby girl voice and whispers like a kitten, if kittens whispered. In “She’s All Good” and “Understand What I Do”, Big Bully picks up where Prince leaves off; i.e., he foregoes Prince’s sense of melody, energy, rhythm, humor, confidence, soul, personhood, you name it. Cari Golden keeps singing about cocaine in unaffected tones. During “Space Ballad”, the silver tongued Argenis Brito provides the album’s funniest moment when he declares in a monotone, “People’s come and filling up the place / It will be a night not to forget / Me, my girl, my mates are all getting started / Tonight will be a… hell of a party.” Sort of like watching the Super Bowl on mute at a monastery.


“But it’s dance music…” Of course you can dance to this music. You could also dance to a cheap keyboard left on by accident or a dot matrix printer. It’s possible Fur Coat set themselves the difficult musical task of making us question the connection between individual and society, the displacement of the soul via electronic wizardry, maybe how that wizardry eradicates basic humanity, and how the electronic wizard’s phallic “wand” (read: glow stick) is nothing more than limp cocksmanship, dispersing the barest modicum of light to its immediate vicinity while even the communal lights of thousands fail to fully illumine our surroundings. If so, they didn’t succeed. I get the feeling Fur Coat wants Mind Over Matter to sound “sinister”, to make me feel ill at ease, but it does nothing of the sort. If I’d paid money for it, maybe I’d feel ill at ease.

Rating:

Josh Langhoff is a church musician. He's written about music for The Village Voice, The Singles Jukebox, two EMP Pop Conferences, his church newsletter, his blogs Surfing in Babylon and The Flowtation Device, and the Burnside Writers Collective, where he also serves as music editor.


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