The first thing that occurs to me as I listen to Felt and Fur’s ‘Aftertouch’ EP is that it’s a bold move placing an unusual intro at the very beginning of the first song, but it certainly piques interest, and the contrast between the simple sonic melody and the moment when everything else kicks in is breathtaking. The second thing is that there’s a passion and presence in the sound which demonstrates clearly that this Texas group love what they’re doing, and that energy is infectious.
That unexpectedly catchy, 8-bit-esque melody which begins opening track Licking a Wound continues into the track to weave in and out of succulent layers of synthesised sounds, biting guitars and enticing rhythms. The emotive vocals work beautifully with the sharply poetic lyrics, over those thick, symphonic layers. One moment a breathy exhalation of sound, the next forceful and soaring across and through the mix.
The Drug Years is the lead single, and if any one track on this EP aptly demonstrates the group’s self described label of ‘funeral pop’, then this one is it. Melancholy and furious in equal measure, you’ll be singing along with the refrain “you can’t say no to me, but you can try” by the time it’s finished.
Older slows it down, with ballad like qualities, retaining that characteristic haunted heartache in the core of the music and the delivery of the vocals, before leading into the similarly styled but perhaps just a touch more upbeat melodies of Aftertouch. Both tracks are loaded with atmosphere and allusion; there’s certainly the ideas of lust, longing, regret coiling throughout, but it’s strong, challenging – not the rose tinted whimpering so often associated with those themes.
Final track Voice of Reason kicks in with a snarling bass, quickly pushing forward into an infectious rhythm as the vocals sear through. The tone of the music is a little heavier, a little grittier here, and it’s a sound which fits perfectly with the themes which thread throughout the EP; of desperation and temptation, seduction, obsession, toxic love and dark desires.
At once spiky and seductive, defiant and delicate, there really is a beautifully organic feel to the music – something infrequently heard in the often over-polished, all too perfectly produced world of electronic music. And don’t get me wrong, this is tightly produced, but crafted in a way that manages to retain that elusive sparkle of realness that usually only comes from a really dynamic live performance.