Very easily, the Deftones have remained one of my favorite bands of all time. Each album has deepened their sound and craft, but before they hit us with experimental narratives and soundscapes, they blew open the Nu Metal genre with this quintessentially angry album from 1997. Today brings another album to the “Albums of my Life” series with “Around the Fur.”
Song one, “My Own Summer(Shove It)” opens with the crunchy and slightly glossed over feeling that permeates the entire album. Before subsequent records were released, this track was easily the most well known, but even though that fact has changed, the track is still a very recognizable fan favorite, nearly always being a highlight at their high energy shows. The guitar and the light feedback coming in and out over the muddled but focused lyrics are something you never forget, and well, the chorus is something every kid my age could relate to. This was also the first video I ever saw from the band, which finally put faces to the members.. It’s also memorable for the ocean setting, which sees the band struggling to stay above water while being circles by sharks. From there though, the record intensifies ever so slightly with “Lhabia.” There’s not a bad song on the entirety of the record, but somehow this track is one you rarely hear mentioned. The drums especially are on point here, and they make the essence of the mixing really strike a cord.
The following selections though are where the band really stretch their legs. “Mascara” runs with underlying emotions of anguish and the difficulties of relationships, while the title track instantly brings the energy up again, this time even more intense and in your face than the previous songs. That being said, after the brutality of track five “Rickets,” the album more or less gets not only heavier, but also more nuanced in the way the band presents the elements of each song. This record also does a really good job of showing you the baby steps the band took to grow their sound, nurturing it in slow, deliberate ways, gradually adding more elements to a otherwise heavy band.
Now this album isn't a long record by any means, but what it lacks in longevity it more than makes up for with intensity and emotion. It’s also the first record I ever bought that made me slightly embarrassed. For a sheltered young kid living in a difficult environment, largely misunderstood by everyone around them(Isn't that ALL teenagers though) purchasing an album that features a bikini clad well endowed woman was difficult to get in line with. I wouldn’t bat an eyelash these days, but for my tenth grade self it proved to be something I had to get used to, while hiding said record from parentals. Getting back to “Around the Fur,” though, the track has one of the best breakdowns at the end, with Chino Moreno letting it all pour out of him, and setting up the stage perfectly for the assault which is “Rickets.”
The second half of the record though, begins with one of the best songs the band ever wrote. You might be aware of it. “Be Quiet and Drive(Far Away)” has one of the best openings of any track I’ve ever heard, and the energy is palpable throughout its five minutes and eight seconds. Everything about this song makes me happy, even though the content is anything but. The bouncy quality of the track also lends itself perfectly to the live setting, and when used as a set opener, it does exactly what the band needs it to, which is getting the crowd involved and intertwined for the remainder of the set.
Now, this is one of the only things that confuse me still about this record. Track seven, “Lotion,” while amazing, has nearly the same exact opening, albeit shortened and more punctuated than BQAD. I’ve always wondered if it was on purpose, or it the track just felt like the next logical step on the record, but otherwise it keeps the attention of the energy and precision of the record, and in that regard, it works wonderfully.
Concluding the record though, we get the heaviest track of the album, featuring Max from Sepultura/ Soulfly fame, and on the song, titled “Headup,” we’re given more energy and well balanced noise than on the whole record. Following that, “MX” ties all the loose ends up, and features slow wining verses with finely cut edges and intricate rhythm sections to properly send the listener off with just the right amount of abrasive musicianship and lyrics. Thanks for reading.
Landon Murray is a New Orleans native, who thrives on painting the world he interprets through the useful forms of all types of art he feels connected to. He's seen over 1000 bands, and had loved mostly every minute of it. He has an amazing 10 year old dog, and is loving life.
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