Creating feel-good, breezy tunes that are soaked in nostalgia, Brighton four-piece FUR has us swooning for their rosy 60’s-inspired sound.
Typically dressed in flares, tinted sunglasses, and Brixton caps, finished off with shaggy hair that would make Mick Jagger proud, the band looks like they’ve time-travelled from a Kinks gig. But the quartet — comprised of frontman Will Murray, bassist William (AKA Tav) Taverner, guitarist Josh Buchanan, and drummer Flynn Whelan — aren’t copycats of the UK’s greatest of rock bands. Instead, they’re bringing their own twist on the classics, cementing their retro-yet-modern sound on their newest single, ‘Grow Up.’
“…It’s a nice touch to have the nostalgia and the old vibes rooted in the songwriting and record it so when people are listening, they’re very aware that it’s a modern band, and feel gives quite an explanatory sound,” explains Murray in conversation with RIOT.
After the “lucky algorithmic success” of the music video for ‘If You Know That I’m Lonely…,’ which racked up millions of views since its release in 2017, the quartet has been making waves in the industry. FUR released their self-titled EP last year and has been churning out new tunes ever since, with ‘Grow Up’ as their effervescent track for summer. Produced by The Corals’ James Skelly, the song will have you yearning for simpler, liberating days of your childhood.
Despite its recent release, the track has been on the band’s backburner for three years. “Over the years, I’ve just kind of tried to go back to it and do a different arrangement, and then it’s quite not been there quite again,” Murray explains. “I just gave it one last go about five months ago or so, and sent it to everyone and they’re like, ‘Yeah, that’s it. We’ve got the arrangement now.’”
The song was released alongside an adorable video that gives fans a sneak peek of FUR’s tour life and childhood. Since the quartet isn’t isolating together, they were unable to shoot a music video for the song, but luckily, they were able to combine their tour footage with homemade videos from their childhood to create a heartwarming juxtaposition.
“We just thought it’s perfect time to have all this footage already shot that we can just use because we can’t obviously meet up and film stuff like we normally would for our videos,” Murray explains. “It felt refreshing as well to give it a different kind of video from a different angle than all of us together in suits, which we’ve done multiple times.”
‘Grow Up’ utilizes familiar Beatles-esque basslines and infectious pop riffs from the ’60s and ’70s, but Murray says the band never meant to be defined by a specific era. “When I formed FUR and started writing, I found myself a bit more tied down to that early 60’s sound,” he shares, later admitting, “I don’t there wasn’t really ever like a conscious effort for us when we started a band to be like, ‘Right, so this is the decade that we’ve picked to be influenced by.”
The nostalgic quality of FUR’s music has hit a sweet spot. Whether it was just down to the algorithm or friends passing the track around, the music video for ‘If You Know That I’m Lonely’ sold the quartet’s retro-vibe to the world. But despite the growing number of hits, FUR didn’t get success right away like other bands like Boy Pablo who blew up on YouTube.
It might’ve taken a while to get a record deal, but Murray thinks it’s all worked out for the best, explaining, “I think we now look at it as a good thing because I think if that had happened to us, we wouldn’t have had the freedom and the time to kind of grow, ourselves, as a band, which we have done. So now I think we’re grateful that we’ve been given a bit of breathing space and I feel like it’s definitely allowed us to cement the songwriting and the rehearsing and the live shows and stuff.”
With the release of ‘Grow Up,’ the band also dropped new tour dates for the UK, which the band is “itching” to play in March. “I think especially because we’ve written so many new songs during this lockdown period that we’re now like, ‘I just need to get out and play the shows because we’ve got so many new songs to play people.’” The band will be visiting some new cities on the tour, like Sheffield and Newcastle, after pleas from fans. “[When] you go to a city and there’s an excitable audience of people waiting for you, I think that’s the most rewarding thing,” remarks Murray.
A new song, tour dates, and what else? The road to the album. The debut will be produced by Murray and Buchanan, and although Murray noted the experience “sounds really scary,” he also shares, “it feels like we’re at the right point to start.”
Murray didn’t give much away about the album besides sharing his nervous excitement and leaving us with this: “I think we’ve finally kind of got a huge selection of songs that we’re already happy with. I think that’s probably gonna be the hardest thing is picking which songs go in, and then maybe just doing a deluxe version.”
FUR are on their way to being something big — bigger than they can ever imagine, and their LP will surely solidify it.