The Rosebuds: Night Of The Furies

The Rosebuds: Night Of The Furies

B

The Rosebuds

Album: Night Of The Furies
Label: Merge

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Over the course of their first half-decade of existence, the husband-and-wife indie-pop duo The Rosebuds have been delightful and confounding in approximately equal amounts. Their 2003 debut album The Rosebuds Make Out was a straight-up winner, brightly hooky and energized, while 2005's follow-up Birds Make Good Neighbors was softer, subtler, and harder to access, but worth the effort. Now, for Night Of The Furies, Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp get even more elusive, dedicating nine songs (over 38 minutes) to a loose concept album about a mythological creature's attempt to lull an epic poet into telling her story in song. While largely more up-tempo than Birds, Furies is decidedly artier, borrowing the severity and breeziness of early '80s Britpop and using it to create rigidly defined sonic chambers filled with sweet-smelling fog.

For what it is, Night Of The Furies is just fine. The Rosebuds recreate the resounding post-post-punk sound of Echo & The Bunnymen and OMD on "Cemetery Lawn," get toe-tappingly happy in a Haircut 100/Human League way on "Get Up Get Out," and even revive the retro-modernist '80s version of Leonard Cohen on the album-opener, "My Punishment For Fighting." While the songs rarely tell a direct story, recurring images of water and sleep express the idea of natural and supernatural forces conspiring to bend one man's will. But given Birds' departure from the brilliant clarity of Make Out, the emphasis on repetition and texture on Night Of The Furies sounds less like a bold experiment and more like a young band prematurely abandoning songcraft. Did The Rosebuds make an album this derivative because they're out of great songs? Or is it just that they're children of the '80s, and this is how they imagine the music of seduction sounds?

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