So Fur Eel's long anticipated album Perhaps Another Time and its release package came rolling into my mailbox this weekend, and oh boy, am I excited to give this album a few spins and and a review! Perhaps Another Time is Fur Eel’s sophomore album and is set to be released on June 9th.
Before I share my thoughts on the album, let’s talk about the cover art (shown above). The album artwork (by Vic Roman at FloPrint) strikes me as edgy and modern, but more importantly minimalistic. I mean minimalistic in that the art gracefully portrays the name of the band, the name of the album and a portrait of the members in one simple but captivating picture. This leaves pictures of the band for the leaflet and alternate art for the CD without the exterior of the album looking cluttered and redundant.
I came into with this album with a good mood, but high expectations. As usual, Fur Eel did not disappoint. The album kicks off with a drum beat and a catchy guitar riff that carries the song “Blues”, I feel like this song was a good way to kick the album off as it is only about two and a half minutes long and could almost be used as an intro to “Elephant Summer”. It seems like the type of song that could let the listener know what the band is all about in a short amount of time. “Elephant Summer” starts with the a horn section and seems to draw more from funk influences than “Blues”. It blends Freddie Mercury-esque vocal melodies fronting a combination of the Jackson 5 and Parliament into a melody that is very easy to get stuck in one’s head (in a good way).
As I was about halfway into the catchy and radio-friendly “Ain’t Got The Time”, I couldn’t help but notice how good the production of this album was. This is saying a lot coming from me as I am VERY nitpicky about production from listening to metal and having to deal with tons of awful production. When I read that it was produced by the band themselves at St. Onge Studio here in Regina, I was even more impressed with the band and the production. It sounds like a professional high-budget album and none of the instuments over-power the others, nor do the vocals drown the band out.
The band slows things down with “Dance”, another Queen-like song that doesn’t really stick out but is not bad by any means and stays true to the band’s funk-pop-rock formula. “Sangria” kicks off with synth and a combination of 80s pop and Queen. The song actually has sort of a Prince feel to it and strays away from pop-funk, it even reminds me of hints from Gaga’s album “Born This Way”. “Smooth City” and “Zoo” brings the winning formula of Fur Eel right back, however. With “Zoo” reminding more of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. That being said, I would recommend this song to bassists. The bass in this song isn’t overpowering in this song per say, but the bass spends more time in the pocket than a socially awkward kid’s hand at the bar. “Lies To Myself” takes a turn for the R & B, and does so very well despite the song being fairly short. “Black Mountain” takes another turn in favor of a slower, heavier song. It sounds like there is quite a bit more rock and blues influence on this song than all the other ones with the exception of maybe “Blues”. “The Rhythm” is also a slower paced song with some serious pop hooks. It is another one I would recommend to bassists and funk fans, the heavy bass riff carries the songs rhythm and is complemented by the horn sections and the drums. The album comes to an end with the song “All Over Me”. This song felt like it drew the most jazz influence out of the album. The horn and string sections where unmistakably jazz, as were the drums. The vocals also reminded me of vintage jazz or the late Amy Winehouse. To complete the jazz ensemble, Karl Valiaho’s sax and Thomas St. Onge’s guitar work fantastically together.
If you are expecting a rating of this album /5 or /10 you are not going to get it. I do not think a person can put an opinion or the amount of enjoyment in music into numbers. If you listen to music based on what number it got out of 10 in a review, then you should go grease your joints as you are a robot. For organic lifeforms that eat, sleep and reproduce (or at least attempt to), I would say that this album is a genre-bending wild ride that has little something for everyone without being insincere or trying too hard. If this seems like something you would enjoy, you can download the album and make donations to the band here. I think the album is definitely worth throwing some money the band’s way and you should if you can! If you think MP3 files are “too digital” or whatever then you can also buy the album on June 9th.
My favourite tracks: Blues, Sangria, Ain’t Got The Time, Zoo
Fur Eel is: Justin Sheppard- Vocals and Guitar, Thomas St. Onge- Guitar, Travis Reshnaur- Bass, James Bellé- Drums and percussion (Additional Personnel: Cheney Lambert- Trumpet, Karl Valiaho- Sax)