Your extremely late post for the week of 11/26/2012…

“Dumb Waiters” by the Psychedelic Furs

Here’s another one I played in the car last week (and have been steadily listening to since).  “Dumb Waiters” was the lead single off the Psychedelic Furs’ 1981 album, Talk Talk Talk, which I got about a year ago but until recently hadn’t listened to in a while.  I forgot how much I like it!  One of the first things you’ll notice about the Furs is that their vocalist, Richard Butler, pretty much can’t sing for his life.  But that’s never been a disqualification for a band in my book (one of my favorite bands is CAKE, for God’s sake…), and besides, I like Butler’s approach to “singing” on most Furs songs.  On “Dumb Waiters,” the verses have this great, urgent rhythm to them.

Having wrapped up their tour to support their self-titled debut, the Psychedelic Furs had to scramble to write and record their sophomore record in a matter of months in 1981.  “Dumb Waiters,” a song of theirs which dated back to 1979 but was not selected to be recorded for their debut, was therefore resuscitated.  As it turns out, the song became a highlight on a very good album.  Part of what makes it so cool is the interplay between the instruments.  The Psychedelic Furs were a six-piece, and “Dumb Waiters” shows how well they worked together in the studio as a band.  No one instrument overwhelms the others; instead, the smoky live saxophone, druggy guitar, and bleating synth-horns all play off each other nicely in the extended-jam outro.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think this recording still sounds very fresh, and, especially for something from the 1980s, not at all dated.

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