At any given point in time, it’s easy to think right now is the most important moment of your life. It’s empowering to think you’re always at the center of your story, that now is your narrative’s crucial time. After all, we’re only as ever old as we’ve ever been, as experienced as we ever have been in this moment. Why wouldn’t we tend to think that life is at its peak in this very second?
But after a few years, we also tend to gain a different perspective. We can see how young we were back then—silly, even. The British-born band, FUR, knows this well. In fact, they’ve poured it into song. Over its lifespan, the band has experienced the emotional and creative highs and lows that come with these transitions of age and eras. Collectively, the band members have chosen to express as much on their riveting forthcoming new LP, When You Walk Away, which is out Friday (November 5).
“Lyrically,” says FUR frontman, Murray (aka William Murray), “it’s post-coming of age. It’s us reflecting on the years when we maybe felt like we wanted to be a bigger band than we were, or maybe we felt like we weren’t quite hitting things we wanted to hit during that period.”
Murray says that, as a teenager, everything felt necessary like there was some invisible boiling point. But later, now that he’s in his twenties, the edge is not quite as sharp or jagged. He has some perspective that age brings and it serves him in the maturity of his work. For example, on the band’s opening single from the new LP, “When You Walk Away Part 1,” Murray sings about the idea of looking ahead. Don’t turn back, he implores. There is so much time ahead of you. So, do what you want. When you walk away.. don’t turn back! he sings. And to underscore this idea, on the band’s song, “No Good For You,” Murray got emotional and emotive. He said he even shed a tear in the booth while recording the vocals.
“’No Good For You,’” he says, “[there’s a] universal feeling around that song. It feels like heartache and it feels like closure. When I was performing the vocal take, it was an emotional thing. I was just thinking about those years, how they’re gone, and that’s fine.”
No matter what track you’re listening to, FUR is an indelible group. They recall bands of the early aughts like the Strokes and the Growlers but they’re also themselves and keenly so. The band is fond of tight rhythms mixed with a California smoothness. Yet everything is filtered through Murray’s bouncy voice, the beam comprising many slices of inspiration.
“The best way to describe it,” he says, “is that FUR just sounds like an amalgamation of my influences from growing up to the point where we are now. And I feel like we will constantly be that.”
For Murray, the Arctic Monkeys are as much a stream of influence as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. It makes sense; Murray was infused with music from a young age. His dad was one of those guitar players who could pick up a song by ear in one try. Murray’s mother sang opera. Together, they introduced their son to music lessons and genres of all kinds. But it was when Murray found the Kinks that he really dove deeply into a single sound. They became all-consuming.
“I wasn’t even playing guitar at that point,” he says. “I had my portable CD player and I remember listening to the Kinks over and over again. They were my first love.”
Murray got a guitar at 11. That was his second love. At 14, he began writing music. He began tinkering with some rudimentary computer recording programs. Before he knew it, he said, he was composing songs and familiarizing himself at a young age. Years later, as a first-year student at university, Murray founded FUR with a friend, who is now no longer with the project. From there, they began to find new members, a bassist through a house here, a drummer in a pub on a lark there, a keyboardist turned guitarist later on after that. FUR, as it’s known now, started in earnest in Brighton, England, and rounded into shape around 2018.
“Our chemistry has always been there as friends,” Murray says.
On the group’s new album, there’s a strong sense of cohesion. It’s the type of record that comes from hours and hours together in the same room, talking over subjects, ideas, techniques, choices, other bands and whatever else might come up in practice rooms, on planes or in touring vans. One really does reap what one sews, which is merely to say, time put in often yields a good crop when you need it most. It has range from the rocking opener to the down-tempo weeper. Still songs like, “She’s the Warmest Colour of My Mind,” brightens the mood of the room. And now that the record is prepare for its release, the band members have a plan post-roll out and before its slated US tour in spring 2022.
“The period over Christmas when the industry dies down a bit,” Murray says, “I think we’re just going to try and go into the practice room for hours multiple days a week not with any agenda. And just jam. We can reconnect musically and just see where it takes us.”
After one steps into a new chapter of one’s life, it’s good to take stock. It’s good to look around and get your bearings and bear witness to the state of the day. For FUR, that means getting in a room and testing out some song ideas and new gear. Sounds like what just the doctor might order for a band getting ready to take yet another step forward after yet so many already. But, of course, for Murray and the band, it’s not about the path trodden. It’s about what’s head.
“The feeling of hearing a new song for the first time,” Murray says, “and maybe not knowing who the band is and hearing it and getting that rush. For me, the feeling is even stronger when I’ve created a song and sit back and listen to the finished thing. I get that feeling, not from someone else’s music, but from something I’ve created.”
Pre-order When You Walk Away here.
Photo by Julia Nala.