Fur Patrol – Tuning Fork: August 20, 2022

Fur Patrol are in triumphant mode the moment they hit the Tuning Fork stage tonight. Playing to an adoring fan base, many of whom can sing along to every song from their celebrated album Pet, for this 22nd anniversary showcase.

Julia Deans is an arresting presence, arriving on stage in a figure-hugging dress. She looks like a Fifties Hollywood starlet who has just walked out of James Ellroy’s LA Fur PatrolConfidential. Seductive and be careful not to mess with her. Or a guitar-slinging Madonna from the Dick Tracy movie.

The power trio are completed by the engine room of Simon Braxton drums and Andrew Bain bass.  

Andrew and Holy lead the charge, the album from top to tail. The louche, bratty ingenue of the original has come back with a slightly lower vocal register and a little jazz in the phrasing. Power pop with punch and drive from the rhythm section.

Now is a riff-driven workout verging on Eighties new wave.

Changes guitar for Loaded and the grungy monolithic wave of sound recalls another rock’n’roll power trio, Husker Du.

It’s Lydia time and Deans lets the audience lead it out. Sounds like a football stadium. Then she takes it back and soars on the high voice. Their signature song has also grown over the years.

Deans includes several songs from Pet on her solo shows of recent times, where her clean tones and piercing voice are sublime.

Soft Plastics

The Plastics are a three-piece alternative rock or indie pop (take your pick) group from Wellington. Sophie Scott-Maunder lead vocals and bass, Jonathan Shirley guitar. They played in a psychedelic surf group prior to joining forces with Laura Robinson, drums, for this project.

Day Job, their most recent single is noisy power pop and they have tapped on the channel of job dissatisfaction which started with doo-wop. From Get a Job (Silhouettes) to Got a Job (Miracles) to Yackety-Yak (Coasters).

Loozer is pop with angst and the singer gets to shine here. Faint traces of the Young Marble Giants on the guitar phrases. Sophie seems to pitch her voice half-way between the vulnerable folk of Alison Stratton of the Giants and the brassy new wave pop of the ladies from the B52s.

MyWorld/ Your Girl is quieter still with some surf and twang, and a minimalist bass. Accomplished songwriting with a Sixties atmosphere, like Twinkle maybe, singing Golden Lights.

Saturn Return is a slow boil of a tune. Starts as a Johnny Marr style melodic jangle and heats up into grunge. Nothing burns quite like Saturn.

They throw in phased and tremolo guitar sounds. On set closer, I Love My Wife they can sound fraught and edgy like Big Star of days gone by.

A band to keep an eye on and a good choice to partner the Fur’s tonight.

Fur Patrol

They are a great rock’n’roll band and Julia Deans is in fine form. Starts Not Your Girl with a noisy Sex Pistols intro before settling in on short bursts of Johnny Ramone rhythm riffs.

Fur PatrolWe are told that original album producer David Long was supposed to be here to add some guitar. He may have been unwell. Original second guitar Steve Wells basks in Paris. So, Spinning a Line starts with a nice, slow jangle guitar. Excels on the higher register chorus vocals. One highlight tonight, and she can look both earnest and vulnerable.

On this one especially, the drums dictate in solid fashion like recently departed Zen master skins-man Charlie Watts.

Brightest Star has a nice touch with jazzy lounge vocals, peaking with some rock’n’roll firepower.

Short Way to Fall is slow and lugubrious, creeps along with portent as some Western twang guitar lightens the moodiness of it.    

Man in a Box is mentioned as the first song the Furs played as a band. Generally down beat with an excellent bass rumble leading. Touches on the atmosphere of Cream’s White Room or Hendrix’s Wind Cries Mary.

They close the night with Beautiful, off the Starlifter EP. Gospel pop vocals leading into rock’n’roll. Finish on some of Lydia as a refrain.

That’s L, Y, D, I, A …Lydia now! No, they didn’t do it like that, but maybe for next time? 

Fur Patrol take the cheers and love from the boisterous crowd and lead Pet off into the night.

Rev Orange Peel        

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