Thursday, 4 March 2010

Bigger Than the Beatles - Furniture

Furniture are one of those bands who seemed to be for ever on the verge of a big breakthrough only for bad luck to whip the carpet from under their feet. Formed in 1979 their debut single appeared 2 years later and up until 1991 they produced 3 lps of great pop songs but pop songs with a dark twist either in the words or the way the melodies never seem to go quite where you'd expect them to.

They are best known for "Brilliant Mind" apparently Boy George's favourite song of the 80's.(don't let this put you off) It is one of those rare songs that, despite only reaching 21 in the pop charts, my guess is that most people in their early 40's would know if you sang a few bars to them. I've also yet to come across anyone who doesnt like the song.

The first lp, "The Lovemongers" is more of a compilation of tracks released previously on a mini lp and various singles, as a result it feels a bit inconsistent.

I've posted my favourite track "Bullet" which isn't really representative sound wise (synth dominates this one) but the more uncomfortable elements of relationships is a theme that the band's lyrics return to again and again. In fact listening back it may be their only theme

Things were on the up with the release of the next lp in 1986. "Brilliant Mind" had been a hit and appeared on the obligatory John Hughes soundtrack (Some Kind of Wonderful). Their record company pressed 30,000 copies of the lp (The Wrong People) which met advanced orders. The record company couldn't afford to press more to keep up with demand and went bust shortly after release. As a result the lp shot up the charts and then just a quickly plummeted out as no one could get hold of a copy to buy.

This is a real shame as the follow up single "Love your Shoes" (an earlier version also appears on the Lovemongers) was just as good as "Brilliant Mind" but suffered the same fate as the lp

I know it is going to rain on our party

But we mustn't let that get us down

4 years went by (3 of which trying to get themselves out of the Stiff contract) until, now signed to Arista, the lp "Food Sex and Paranoia" was released by which time the band were already being featured as one hit wonder quiz questions. The two tracks I've featured here again showcase catchy songs about doomed relationships.

Out on the town with a friend of a friend

I'm not ready I'm not ready

When something else hasnt come to an end

I woke up in someone else's bed

To face a jury of my peers

They started work on the next lp but had to stop when the recording studio shut down. Eventually they split, with stangely two members going on to form Transglobal Underground. A compilation "She Gets out the Scrapbook" followed. All the lps are a nightmare to get hold of and tend to go for silly prices.

I think as a band one of the things that made them so good is that they were blessed with 2 main singers and songwriters so my guess is it kept the quality threshold high. My copies of the 3 lps are on worn out vinyl so I live in hope of an eventual cd re release.

If all you know about Furniture is "Brilliant Mind" then give these a listen I don't think you'll be disappointed


  1. Ah, Furniture,what a truly great band.
    Seeing them live during their tour to promote 'Food Sex and Paranoia'was fantastic,A really intimate show.Can't have been more than a hundred people at the gig.
    Jim Irwin recently promised that 'The Wrong People'would finally be released on CD later this year ,after many a knock back.
    'Food Sex and Paranoia was released on CD,(I have a copy),and occasionally appears on e-bay,but as you say it always goes for a silly price.
    By the way Jim Irwin released an album in the early 90's under the name 'Because',which is well worth tracking down.
    Tel Aviv

  2. oops! It's Jim Irvin, not Irwin.....sorry about that!

  3. cheers phil - I'm definately going to look for "Because"
    wish I'd seen them live

    one fo thos ebands that I had to chance to but thought oh I'll wait of rthe next tour..... that never came!

  4. Just heard 'The Wrong People' will be released on CD by Cherry Red on April 19th.The CD will contain 9 bonus tracks!
    By the way the 'Because' CD is called 'Mad Scared Dumb And Gorgeous'.That should make it easier to search for on the net!
    Tel Aviv

  5. Cheers phil - cherry red are oneof hte best things about music at teh moment - they are re-releasing soem great stuff that I'd given up hop eof seeing the light of day - already bought red box 1st lp and its immaterial 2nd lp with the colourfields first one on order

  6. Hi from France, first excuse my poor english.
    Just a word to say that i made a rip of my CD of 'Mad Scared Dumb And Gorgeous' by Because.

    Try it on my blog,


  7. apols for the massive delay in replying as I've only just found your comment - thanks for the link

    friend of rachel worth


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