Despite the fact that many of today’s bands draw heavily from the genre’s tropes, New Wave still gets sort of a bad rap. People tend to remember the terrible hair, the neon-colored clothes and the empty keyboard bloops (not to mention the entirety of the Culture Club catalog). But there were gems, and luckily modern bands are taking from the best. For example, take Psychedelic Furs, the English group formed by singer Richard Butler in the late 1970s. Sometimes derided as a one-hit wonder (people tend to remember the song “Pretty In Pink,” which came from the hit movie of the same name), the Furs turned out seven excellent albums between 1980 and 1991.
Their self-titled debut is a raw but warm collection of tunes that found the band still trying to nail down their core sound. They had it figured out by 1981’s Talk Talk Talk, a classic in the genre and one of the best releases of the decade (it contained “Pretty In Pink” as well as the awesome “Into You Like a Train”). They followed that with the stellar Forever Now, which was produced by Todd Rundgren and contained the hit “Love My Way” (which got a second life when it was included on the soundtrack to the hit Adam Sandler film “The Wedding Singer”).
The band continued with 1984’s Mirror Moves, 1987’s Midnight to Midnight and 1989’s Book of Days. It was an incredible run, though the band ended in 1991 (frontman Butler then formed Love Spit Love, a profoundly underrated modern rock outfit most famous for a cover of the Smiths’ “How Soon Is Now?” that appeared on the soundtrack to “The Craft”). Butler is one of the great unheralded songwriters in rock, and his work tells the tale. Rock out to “Pretty In Pink” and listen to some Psychedelic Furs today.