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[Off The Record]
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Psychedelic Furs
BEAUTIFUL CHAOS (GREATEST HITS LIVE)
(COLUMBIA/LEGACY)

The bad news is that even though itís on the Columbia imprint reserved primarily for releasing reissues and material from Sonyís considerable vault of previously unissued treasures, Beautiful Chaos (due in stores this Tuesday) is not filled with recordings from back in the day. Indeed, rather than documenting the band at the height of their new-wave power in the í80s, the disc ó well, 12 of its 13 tracks ó is taken from a reunion show the Furs played in May of this year at LAís House of Blues. The good news, though, is that not only do the reunited Furs sound terrific but they seem to have a pretty good sense of what their "greatest hits" really are. So rather than merely offering a rundown of tunes from their better-selling later albums, Beautiful Chaos delivers a well-rounded mix of their actual hits ("Love My Way," "Pretty in Pink," and, I guess, "Ghost in You") and fan favorites that may never have come within spinning distance of a commercial-radio playlist but nonetheless helped define the Furs as one of the more relevant British post-punk bands of their era. Those would include an epic six-and-a-half-minute "India," a hard-driving tear through "Into You like a Train," and a searingly poetic version of "Dumb Waiters." Richard Butler still finds it a challenge to hit a note square on, but itís the deracinated quality of his unmistakable voice, the deeply cynical, desiccated romanticism of it, thatís always been at the heart of the Fursí appeal. And if anything, it has improved with age. Beautiful Chaos is rounded out with one studio cut, a pleasant, affirming tune called "Alive" that neither enhances nor detracts from the Fursí legacy.

(The Psychedelic Furs join a reunited Echo and the Bunnymen this Tuesday, November 20, at Avalon. Call 617-423-NEXT.)

BY MATT ASHARE

Issue Date: November 15 - 22, 2001

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