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