Still plenty of essentials on the way in this strange timeline we’re on and RVG’s sophomore LP is pretty high on that list. The band’s debut was an emotionally fraught, tumultuous record that stood high with ‘80s classics from Echo and the Bunnymen, The Go-Betweens, or Siousxie Sioux. The band has only refined and expanded on that sound with their follow-up, out soon on Fire Records and Feral aims to be one of the best of the year. Naturally, that put the band’s songwriter and driving force Romy Vager high atop the list of inquiries for a Hidden Gems, and she digs further into that ‘80s influence with a spotlight on Psychedelic Furs’ mid-period gem Forever Now. While its predecessor may have gotten all the acclaim for the John Hughes tie-in, this one begs further exploration and Vager explains how it came into her life and the impact its had on her own writing.
“When I was 16, Romy explains, “I dropped out of high school and tried doing a TAFE course in the city. I was listening to a lot of 80s goth, as Adelaide was in the middle of a Nu Metal epidemic and old indie music seemed to be the best escape from it. I bought the first Furs album and Forever Now from my favorite record shop because I’d read somewhere that the Sisters of Mercy were into them. I remember distinctly listening to Forever Now for the first time in between classes. I immediately clicked with it. It wasn’t the angsty music that I was used to, it was poppy and over-produced, but it was strong, SERIOUS music. I felt productive listening to it. I love the simplicity of older records, the way they just chug along in 4/4 without any stupid shit in between. I like the music I listen to sound like a hymn. The opening song ‘Forever Now’ is exactly that. It’s just three chords.”
“Six months later, Vager continues, “I ran away to Melbourne with my then-partner, leaving my Woolworths job and my family behind. We had to share a dole check between us for a few months so I’d make extra money by busking outside Smith St Safeway. I didn’t play anything people would know, mostly just awful versions of ‘Run & Run’ and ‘Sleep Comes Down.’ I never wanted to really play anything else. I’ve bought this three times on vinyl. Once ‘cause I lost it and another time for the poster that came with it. I always have to have it near me. It always reminds me why I like the music that I do, and why it’s fine to do your own thing and enjoy whatever the fuck you want to enjoy.”
Vagar notes, “Everybody knows the song ‘Love My Way’ which is on this album, but the record as a whole kinda gets forgotten about. The Furs unfairly get remembered as a singles band but every record except for maybe Midnight to Midnight is perfection. This is their best one. The song ’President Gas’ seems to become relevant again every election. ’Danger’ is this weird Funky synth banger that you should hate just because of how unashamedly 80’s it is, but it works. You have heartbreaking lyrics like in the final song ‘No Easy Street’
‘The day goes at the factory
I should be happy look at me
It’s definitely no…
“You can definitely hear the influence of this album throughout everything we do,” she concedes. Honestly it’s exhausting being a contemporary female artist and being compared to older male artists all the time, it wears you down, but when someone says Furs I have to agree. The particular phrasing, simple lyrics and the overuse of – D, G, A – all 100% come from me wearing out my copy(s) of this record over the years. Also, shout out to the expanded CD version which is the one I first listened to. The early demo of ‘Alice’s House’ and ‘I Don’t Want To Be Your Shadow’ are equally as good as their best album tracks.”
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