The expression that “opposites attract” is as widely used as it is debated. While the expression may hold up for magnets, the attraction of opposites in music often leads to a largely unattractive album. Case and point: Fur Trade’s debut album Don’t Get Heavy.
Fur Trade, comprised of Steven Bays of Hot Hot Heat and Parker Bossley of The Gay Nineties, has just released Don’t Get Heavy on Last Gang Records. While neither Bays nor Bossley are new to the music industry, both being members of highly successful bands, Don’t Get Heavy might best be described as a “freshman album.” Over the span of 12 songs, Fur Trade seems to have allowed their brainstorming to run wild and unchecked, regularly smashing too many contrasting ideas into each song, resulting in an overly crowded sound. To their credit, where they managed to pull off the hectic, cluttered combination of The Neighbourhood’s airy, floating vocals, Big Gigantic’s arpeggiated synths and searing basslines, the gritty and bit-crunchy effect of Pretty Lights, and the acidy, lolling psychedelia of MGMT, they really succeeded. Tracks like “Don’t Get Heavy,” the remarkably MGMT-reminiscent “Kids These Days,” and the spastic, clubby jungle-jam called “Voyager” are dangerously catchy, tempting listeners to gyrate so randomly as to cause whiplash. But for the most part, the rest of the album fails to rise to the occasion sets by these three tracks, which, somewhat unfortunately, are the three foremost, leaving the rest of the album void of their catchiness.
The album’s main flaw of musical non sequitur manifests itself most prominently in the track “In Between Dreams.” Despite the concept for the song being given in the title, perhaps warranting transitions between contrasting sounds, the execution thereof is an eyebrow-raiser. Moving from a combination of janky, fluttering handclaps, a Daft Punk knockoff robo-voice, and an atonal synth loop to a breathy male harmony duet, the song seriously lacks cohesion, as well as a element of musical focus and cohesion. This lacking of cohesion coupled with gratuitous musical detracts from the album; had it been an EP with the first five tracks, the release would have been a great success. However, the overboard nature of the album as a whole is disappointing.
The Greats: “Don’t Get Heavy,” “Kids These Days,” “Voyager,” and “Same Temptation.”
The Gross: “In Between Dreams,” “Can You Dig It,” and “Our Life Starts Now.”
So, opposites certainly did not attract on this album. It should have been an EP with the focus tracks.