Picks and Pans Review: Forever Now

updated 01/31/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/31/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

The Psychedelic Furs

A name like the Psychedelic Furs requires some initial living down—just one album's worth in the case of this English quartet. The echoing, intoxicating guitar textures and rough sax riffs the band introduced in its 1980 debut helped legitimize and name a genre: the Psychedelic Revival. Some two years later other groups heralded as part of the first neo-psychedelic wave (Echo and the Bunnymen, the Teardrop Explodes) have lost much of their potency. But on this third album the Furs demonstrate they haven't come down from their trip. The band is tighter than ever and still sounds distinctive enough to carry the cello, keyboards and background vocals that producer Todd Rundgren has added. Time has exposed two weaknesses, though. The first is that many of the group's songs sound alike (good, but alike). Ironically, if not for the slinky melodicism of Love My Way, this relative lack of variety might not be so noticeable. A little ambition, like a little knowledge, is a dangerous thing. The greater weakness is the singing of Richard Butler. His voice has the texture and, worse, the color of worn sandpaper. Maybe Forever Now was mixed to elevate the vocals more than on the earlier albums. Or maybe the band's increasing prowess has simply exposed its shaggiest part. At least the other components still seem sleek and well put together.

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