There’s a strange familiarity to the sounds coming from the debut self-titled album by Chicago’s Lucille Furs. I know I’ve heard the sinister harpsichord sound; the swirling organs, the ethereal harmonies – if you mashed together a good portion of The Nazz, The Left Banke, The New Colony Six, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn and other refinements of 1967, we’d probably be close to what I’m trying to describe. This band seems to have stepped right out the Wayback Machine and found themselves offering a sound of yesteryear in the hear and now. Which is welcome and none too soon. Even funnier – at least in my mind – is that I can see the old orange Mercury label, with the jagged design, being just right for this band’s first album. But here’s some of the why…
Opening with “The Fawn Of Teal Deer”, my immediate thought was – rhythmically and structually speaking – “Grimly Fiendish” by The (fabulous) Damned – because of the melody and the use of the harpsichord, as stated above. But the guitar strokes and spaciousness of the overall recording have some very Jefferson Airplane elements about it as well and is an immediate attention grabber; “Thoughts And Words” (not to be confused with The Byrds’ song of the same name) has a garage-y feel, sans fuzz; “Pink Noise” screams two things to me – these gentlemen know how to come up with a strong riff and they REALLY know how to arrange a fucking song (thank God) and this is a pure, instant masterpiece – listen to the harmonies – so tight and on point and “Baby Blaise” wouldn’t be out of place on The Turtles’ Happy Together or Present The Battle Of The Bands albums – this is how wide their spectrum seems to go, consciously or unconsciously.
The real standout of this album (of which there are a few, to be sure) is “Our Lady Of Perpetual Frustration”. First off, great title. Second, it’s weird, melodic and brilliant as fuck – psychedelic in all the aurally colorful ways you can be psychedelic without falling prey to the easily tedious cliches. Catchy, radio friendly (in a just world) and arranged absolutely gloriously. “Alabaster Crayon” has an early ’70’s feel with some groove, which is a bit different from the rest of the album but no less filled with a stellar vibe and “Between Us Two – I Saw You” is (not surprisingly) Byrds-y (definitely in the Younger Than Yesterday period) with a hypnotic 12-string Ric sounding cascading riff – and I’m hopeful these young men also took notes and notice from The Rain Parade, because this definitely could have been an outtake from Emergency Third Rail Power Trip.
File Lucille Furs under: very late entry into my top albums of 2017 and I’m damned glad. This is simply fantastic and would suggest you stop reading, listen to the track posted below and then seek out the album and the band themselves, if they’re playing somewhere near you. I’ll be looking out – that’s for sure.
Lucille Furs’ debut self-titled album is currently available