Fur Coat: Mind Over Matter
Two things to know upfront about Mind Over Matter, the debut studio album by Crosstown Rebels' recent signing Fur Coat: first, the central role bass plays on the set, and, secondly, how the album leans as much if not more in the direction of funk than house. The album came together quickly, too, as Fur Coat members Sergio Muñoz (Delete) and Israel Sunshine only formally came together in Barcelona in the summer of 2010 and were spotted by Crosstown Rebels head Damian Lazarus less than a year ago. Mind Over Matter's a bit of a slow-builder that grows stronger over the course of its sixty-nine-minute run, with the peak arguably reached in the tenth of its thirteen cuts, “You and I,” due in part to its tasty “cocaine and ketamine” vocal hook.
The Venezuelan duo fashioned it as an album, replete as it is with a brief but still slamming scene-setter (“Mind Over Matter (Intro)”) and a trippy outro (“This Is The End”) that takes the set out on a downtempo, head-nodding note (and that even includes a smidgen of turntable scratching). It's the second cut, “Those Days,” then, that lays out the Fur Coat sound, one that sees the first in what will be a series of wiry bass lines locking a track's groove into position. Smears of shredded vocals and synth flourishes flutter as part of the sound palette, but otherwise Muñoz and Sunshine leave lots of space for the tune's funk groove to spread itself out.Vocals form a key part of the Fur Coat sound, and in that regard the duo gets a major boost from the contributions of Rap Lisa, Big Bully, Mel Blatt (of All Saints), Stee Downes, Cari Golden, and Argenis Brito. The group's sexier side comes to the fore in “Pettit Pillow” when Rap Lisa spreads her sensual voice across the track's smooth funk base, while Big Bully's falsetto vocal in the sexy chuggers “She's All Good” and “Understand What I Do” might remind listeners of a certain age of Dirty Mind-era Prince. A little bit of a West Coast vibe seeps into “Falls Away” (and the later moodscape “Change Resistance,” too) thanks to a mini-moog-styled melody that appears alongside Blatt's soulful vocal and the tune's bass thunder. Tight backdrops are repeatedly fashioned for the duo's guests, such that Downes' vocal receives a powerful boost during the snappy electro-jack of “Going Nowhere,” as do Golden's and Brito's during the house vamp “You and I” and bruising jam “Space Ballad,” respectively. If Mind Over Matter isn't the greatest release to ever have appeared on Crosstown Rebels, it's certainly a solid and well-rounded outing that hits its mark more often than not. It's an especially impressive collection if one takes into account the relative newness of the Fur Coat project.