Psychedelic Furs: Beautiful Chaos

Dave Thompson, Author Helter Skelter Publishing $19.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-900924-47-4
Best known for their hit""Pretty in Pink,"" which was immortalized in the 1985 film of the same name, Britain's Psychedelic Furs remain one of the leading lights of the post-punk and New Wave eras. Never ascending to the superstar heights of contemporaries like U2, The Cure or Duran Duran, the Furs nevertheless managed to avoid the dreaded""one-hit wonder"" fate of so many bands of the late 1970s and 1980s. Instead, they inhabit that realm of college-radio respectability in which bands have more impact on future musicians than they ever did in the marketplace. Right from the introduction, author Thompson declares his intention to eschew biography in favor of an exploration of the band's story""from without."" However, it soon becomes clear that without the benefit of backstory, none of the people in and around the band can be sufficiently understood as personalities, so snippets of biography do creep in. The book traces the standard narrative arc that we've all come to expect from VH1's popular Behind the Music: rise, peak, semi-precipitous fall and the inevitable past-their-prime reunion. Likewise, the rock and roll cliches abound, from an endless stream of new drummers (a la Spinal Tap) to trashed hotel rooms and drunken brawls. But the book is mostly concerned with a staid litany of personnel, producers and dates. Thompson is also attracted to needlessly flowery prose, as when he writes,""Gone were the wired and weirdly worldly mavericks who still seemed forever torn between playing a set full of hits and bits."" Thompson's skills as a researcher will please dedicated Furs fans, but this band history is unlikely to win many new converts. 8 pages b/w photos.
Reviewed on: 11/01/2004
Release date: 11/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
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