"We knew about being heartbroken in smoky pubs, so we sang about that."
An absolute treasure of late, jazz-infected West London post-punk pop from the trio of Jim Irvin, Hamilton Lee and Tim Whelan...cut from the same wry, romantic, Oxfam-beatnik cloth as Weekend, Working Week and Dislocation Dance ("Death Of The Cool Pt.1" read the etching on the run-out groove of When The Boom Was On,
originally released in '83.)
Self-produced and largely recorded in Denmark St, it's a record suffused with nostalgia for an idealised 1950s, but of course what it most powerfully evokes now is the decade of its making - a time when the capital was slower, scruffier, a little (ok a LOT) less uniform and dead-eyed than it is today. Say what you like, but no one hunched over their laptop and cortada in Fernandez & Wells is going to write a song as enduringly beautiful as 'Why Are We In Love?'. That song, the centrepiece of When The Boom Was On, remains Furniture's finest hour. Impossibly spacious and atmospheric, with Lee's drums pattering like raindrops, and Larry Whelan's (Tim's brother's) winding clarinet part the very definition of bittersweet, its singular unrepeatable genius is the main reason that original pressings of the album have become so rare. Personally I'd never even heard the rest of the album before now - so am pleased to report that it sustains, marvellously, that quintessential all-my-dreams-are-dead-let's-have-another-drink Soho mood.