Sound Kapital – Handsome Furs

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Sound Kapital is the third full-length album for Handsome Furs, the Canadian two-piece comprising of Dan Boeckner and his wife Alexei Perry. It's a big departure for the group, consciously written only on keyboard as a means of interrogating the notion that electronic music is somehow unfeeling and alienated from the human experience. This decision has also caused the duo to experiment with new modes of expression; the result is noisy, vigorous, almost aggressively energetic—maybe it doesn't exactly approximate muscle and blood, but it far from eschews them.

There is something very compelling without being overtly effusive about Boeckner's gravelly voice as it overlays the recognizably upbeat background of drum machine and synths limned with static; a lot of songs on this album feel like frenetic anthems that are at once life-affirming and remote. This might have something to do with the fact that it was written while the Furs were travelling in Asia: apparently both “Repatriated” and “Cheap Music” were inspired by young bands that the group played with “under incredibly risky situations” in repressed regions like Myanmar and China's Hubei province, and “Damage” samples bits of radio broadcasts detailing a hostage situation in Hong Kong.

With Sound Kapital, Handsome Furs have created an electronica album that is neither detached nor predictable — it's chaotic, kinetic, and expansive, if not a little repetitive. It was recorded quickly and polished in the duo's Montreal studio, then “preserved for posterity” by producers Howard Bilerman and Arlen Thompson. It's due out June 28 on Sub Pop, 10 days after the onset of Handsome Fur's North American tour.