Psychedelic Furs - Mirror Moves
Never being able to boast a truly stable line up, the band pretty much consisted of a core trio (two of them brothers and one of them apparently mentally unstable) with others walking in and out as the mood took them. Another line-up change both preceded and followed the release of this album and there is a case to argue that the lack of stability contributed to the fact that the musical direction of the band never seemed clear or secure.
The Psychedelic Furs were always better as a post punk outfit than as a pop band. The further they moved away from post punk and into pop, the less appealing they became. This album perhaps represents a significant low point in their career as a result. It is too middle-of-the-road American MTV pop-pap. Now I hate to say this, but the Furs could have done a whole lot better. The album achieved top ten status in the US, but the band had to severely compromise their style in making it. Sadly, these compromises were not for the betterment of the band and the music as it took taking them further away from their roots of the first album and Talk Talk Talk. In short, the album is your standard radio-friendly eighties pop music, performed by a band who just about manage to retain a hint of hidden menace because of the Butler's voice bordered on the inability to sing category. Having said that, I have no doubt if Autotune had been around when the album was recorded, even that distinctiveness of the Furs would have been eradicated. All the flaws of Forever Now were carried over into this album - with none of the redeeming features.
"Alice's House" is without doubt the best track on the album, the one which comes closest to the original post punk roots. Much weaker tracks are "Heaven" which is too close to pop to be truly likeable, "Here Come Cowboys" and the truly awful "Highwire Days". Much of the rest is rather insubstantial and lightweight, not the sort of thing I really appreciated in the Furs. The rest of the album is so bland and anodyne that it takes me a while to recall any of the tracks with any semblance of coherence. As a consequence, of all the Psychedelic Furs albums I have - six - this one is the one I play least.
Mirror Moves marks a band struggling to find its way between its roots in post punk and the desire for the transient glare of pop stardom. Whether that dilemma was one the band itself promoted and tried to live with, or whether it was a consequence of CBS trying to squeeze every last buck out of them I do not know. Frankly, I do not care. Over the next few albums the band would lurch from one to the other and gradually lose their identity (and most of the original band members) in the process. Sadly, they would also lose me as a fan.
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on 2011-09-20 dscanland Said:
I agree with your Highwire Days sentiment but overall, I still reach for Mirror Moves every once and a while. It truly is a pop classic in my eyes.