Show review: Beeps in Wolves' Clothing, Part 2

Beeps in Wolves' Clothing, Part 1

Dan Boeckner, Handsome Furs

Alexei Perry, Handsome Furs

Montreal's Handsome Furs-- Dan Boeckner, Wolf Parade bandmate of Spencer Krug, and wife Alexei Perry-- had hoped to end the evening with 1 a.m. fireworks outside of PJ's Lager House in Detroit's Corktown. But prudence prevailed and we had to settle for the aural pyrotechnics the Furs and Parlovr delivered earlier that night on Sat., Jul. 30. (The aforementioned fireworks were part of a glorious display over the shores of Lake Huron later on in the summer.)

Both bands are seasoned globetrotting performers-- CNN filmed Handsome Furs' travels through Vietnam, China and Thailand for the series Indie Asia-- but sometimes Detroit's reputation precedes it. Not the one that makes us cringe, the one we're proud of:  a city home to legendary musical history, talent and innovation. For bands that get this, no matter where in the world they've been, playing Detroit has some significance to it. Which explains Parlovr's earnest query to N2D after their set-- "How did we do? Was it okay?"

Louis Jackson, Parlovr

It was more than okay. From the first note it was all zeal, appeal and everything between "Hell, Heaven" from Louis Jackson (vox, guitar), Alex Cooper (vox, keyboard, guitar) and Jeremy MacCuish (drums). Like the band's name, there's a slightly-skewed element to the "Speech Bubble/Thought Cloud" of their alt-rock that keeps it interesting, whether it's fuzzy, dissonant hooks, time signature changes, suspenseful phrasing and/or vocals that range from plaintive to piercing within a few measures. With only one full-length self-titled album to date, this Montreal band is just getting started. We've heard what's to come, and it's pretty darn okay.

Alex Cooper, Parlovr

Jeremy MacCuish, Parlovr

What does it take to get a 20-to-30 something crowd to loosen up? If Handsome Furs' catchy, often anthemic electronic pop/rock and Perry's possessed-by-the-music performance at the keyboards couldn't get them dancing, we don't know what would. It may be possible to resist the club beats and evocative riffs with your feet, but the subject matter of much of their catalog, from the 2007 debut Plague Park, 2009's Face Control to this year's Sound Kapital, makes Handsome Furs as enduring as entertaining. Their observations on cultural landscapes and incongruities are well worth exploring, whether through lyrics or Perry's journals on their website.

Photos: Russ Gordon/N2D Images