Furniture: Twilight Chases the Sun

A quartet led by guitarist and lead vocalist Ronnie Khoo, Furniture characterizes its music as a combination of indie, shoegaze, and ‘Emotronic,' and that does a fairly good job of capturing the sound and spirit of the band. It's an incomplete rendering, however, as even a single listen of Twilight Chases the Sun reveals. Add melodic pop and grandiose post-rock to those ingredients and the mix of elements starts to look more accurate.

“Twilight Chases the Sun” opens the album innocently with the prettiest one-minute prelude you've ever heard, before the explosive “Postcards” kicks in. Khoo leads the charge with his six-string attack and feathery singing but the song is considerably more than a non-stop roar (though sudden eruptions do occur). Here and elsewhere, Furniture alternates between gentle passages where glockenspiel tinkles dance and ear-shredding post-rock crescendos. The peak the group climbs at the song's end, for example, is awesome in its intensity and power. “Please” resides in that hazy zone worshipped so assiduously by My Bloody Valentine devotees, while “Chasing Tipperary” reveals a vibrant pop heart beating at the center of the shoegaze machine.

It's at about this stage that the album shifts gears from song-based material to epic post-rock instrumentals. The subsequent three pieces form an instrumental, twenty-two-minute suite that's closer in spirit to Godspeed You! Black Emperor than Ride or Slowdive: “I Am Ying” shreds one's eardrums with scalding guitars and soaring melodies, then segues directly into “Why is Adam King?” whose rumbling percussive clatter and squelch constantly threaten to combust, especially when it accelerates towards its close; mournful strings usher in “Hush the Dead are Dreaming” with the detonation arriving not long after. Of course, the anthemic style is hardly unique to Furniture but the group executes it as convincingly as any other outfit currently tilling the post-rock field.

Twilight Chases the Sun returns to song-based territory in closing pieces like “Lughnasa” where yearning, high-pitched vocal and slow, stately melodies strongly evoke Sigur Ros. The eleven-minute closer “Fin” ends the set memorably with a music box-like motif that loops incessantly like a child's malfunctioning toy. Using this album as a reference point, Furniture's sound isn't necessarily unique but Twilight Chases the Sun is certainly solid enough to warrant a recommendation.

December 2007