The Psychedelic Furs, Made Of Rain (Cooking Vinyl)

This is the record The National have been trying to write for the past 15 years. It’s also easily the most comforting record I became immersed in during the 20. Yes, comforting. Not that you would ever expect a record containing lyrics such as these to be even vaguely comforting: “I never really loved you/I was laughing at you all the time/When I said I needed you I lied/I never needed anyone I laughed until I cried.” Or how about: “A wife that hates me/so does her boyfriend” But to anyone who loves the elegiac, velvety menace of classic Psychedelic Furs albums like Talk Talk Talk or Forever Now, this 30-years-in-the-making comeback covers you like a nice warm blanket of thorns. Seriously, has there ever been a comeback record as good as this one? After three decades of studio silence? With band members now well into their 60s? When the hair turns grey, the soul often strays, but not only does this slowly unraveling majesty of a song suite touch upon their classic sound without nostalgia tripping, it effortlessly propels a classic band full-on into modern sounds and concepts. If you put this on for anyone who’s never heard the Psychedelic Furs, I guarantee you they would think this was an up-and-coming LA or Brooklyn band just popping off. After all the Furs are too sophisticated, too obsessed with their legacy, to fall into any of the usual “the band is back together” comeback album traps. There are absolutely no attempts to recreate past glories, nary a “Love My Way Jr” or “Prettier In Pink” in sight, not do they come even close to using any autotune or incorporating trap beats. All we have here is the type of effortlessly gliding dark majesty the Furs first perfected on tracks like “Dumbwaiters” and “Imitation Of Christ”, now infused with a lifetime if insights and new details. If “The Boy That Invented Rock & Roll” doesn’t grab you, with its rabid-fire rain of urban imagery and modern confusion, then you may technically be dead. “You’ll Be Mine” adds in a dose of twisted English folk for good measure. Always a man of vicious but fey romantic put downs, Richard Butler really turns things up a notch here, with “Don’t Believe” and “This’ll Never Be Like Love” elegantly lashing out at failed liaisons like knives wrapped in crushed velvet. In the ultimate Verzuz battle between downtrodden and dapper aging romantics Richard Butler and Matt Berninger, Richard would have the show won just with “Hide The Medicine” alone. Berninger has been striving his whole career to come up with an “I’m married with children but still so fucked up” anthem, and Butler pulls it off with a shrug and a sip of wine like it was nothing. There are 12 tracks on this thing, and not one of them is a skipper. It comes off like a concept album, only minus any distracting narrative tapestries. And in “Ash Wednesday” we have a very strong contender for song of the year and a fine message for nearly everyone out there this year:

So close your crazy eyes
And sing ourself to sleep
And shut your crazy mouth
Your lies don’t mean a thing