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the furrs

Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the reins. This is roadhouse blues, truck-stop rock, whatever you want to call it. VB cans, billiard cues, yellow-stained fingers climbing your daughter’s laddered stockings. Basically it’s The Furrs, and they’re bringing their steely brand of star-spangled rock to a sleazy rathskeller near you.

the furrs ep

The Furrs‘ self titled EP is a roadhouse blues sound straight from the whisky soaked badlands of… Brisbane.

You’d think that the sexy, jangling jams of The Furrs had been soldered in the American badlands, riding straight out of the 1960’s via Highway 61. The loose, fuzzed out guitars and the slick, nonchalant vocals—it’s got that kind of American, whisky swill in the throat vibe.

You’d be wrong. As fact would have it, these five folk strutted on to the scene no more than a couple of years ago, out of the same neck of the woods as rock-happy Brisbanians like Morning Harvey, The Ottomans and Salvadarlings (and what a fucking neck).

There’s something of a trend happening up that way: what Alex Turner would smugly refer to as “that rock n’ roll… making its way back through the sludge”, but what Furrs vocalist Gabriella J. might simply call “rolling down the highway taking what we’ve left behind”.

A new school of bands, tethered to the rock-and-roll cornerstone of the old school by way of shredded guitar strings like steel angles – The Furrs etching their names as the school’s latest alumni last Thursday with the release of their self titled EP.

Whilst the loose, snakeskin swagger of their sonic aesthetic often channels bygone bands like The Doors, The Furrs also wear the mark of a few more modern artists on their sleeve. Fronted by both Gabriella and Jimmy G., they pretty frequently strike up something reminiscent of other guy-gal indie acts like Best Coast or Cults — the latter of whom they recently supported at their Brisbane Groovin the Moo sideshow– albeit with a little more scuff on the shoes; a little more blood on the knees.

Get On Your Horse And Ride could’ve come from the songbook of either of the aforementioned. The lead single chugs along through rambling, almost spoken-word verses and sweeping, charged choruses, as Gabriella preaches lazily about “the misguided”: “the unholy riders” chasing “the dream” down an ever-lengthening road.

This is something like a dirge for the downtrodden, a youth-in-revolt angst anthem denouncing “the mediocrity telling us what to be” and “the preachers… telling us what’s out of reach”—“in our minds it’s all possible; in our minds we’re all incredible”. Cynical, and yet at the same time optimistic.

Jimmy gets his bohemian rhapsody in Money, imploring the corporate suits of the world to “ask yourself if you’re still alive” and reminding them that “we’re all gonna die” over unfittingly blasé instrumentation. It’s all very punk rock—aggressive, anti-establishment lyricism in an intentionally digressive musical medium—and yet at the same time lighthearted and intensely carefree.

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And that’s the great irony at play here: The Furrs are serious about being nonchalant; they’re deeply concerned with maintaining a sense of apathy. It may seem somewhat contradictory, maybe even a touch hypocritical. But in the end, it’s just rock and roll by a band that treats it with importance, and executes it with meaningfulness. Get on the new horse—ride it down the old road.

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May 19, 2014