A lbum OF THE WEEK
FURNACE MAINTENANCE CRUCIAL AS USUAL
There’s something to be said for not giving a fuck. Furnace Maintenance clearly has no particular careerist ambitions when it comes to music. The band has been around in some form or another since forming in Calgary in 1989, and the current lineup allegedly includes zero original members, if the Furnace Maintenance bio on Facebook is to believed.
It does include singer-guitarist Chris Burnette, who also happens to be in the Burnettes. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, no matter. Furnace Maintenance’s primary objective seems to be to have fun while cranking out punkish rock that fits loosely into the vein of the Nils and Young Fresh Fellows and maybe the Replacements. (It’s a safe bet that all of the above have places of honour in the record collections of Burnette and company.) Not taking things too seriously doesn’t mean making lacklustre music, mind you. It just means that the songs on Crucial as Usual sound like they were banged out in a room where all the musicians were actually playing together at the same time. This is rawk music without the rough edges sanded down.
This makes for some pretty cool moments, like the way the guitars of Burnette—credited here as “Cheecho”—and Jason Keller weave together and harmonize on “Hot Apple Stars”. Furnace Maintenance isn’t out to revolutionize rock ’n’ roll, and that’s okay. “The Craniac” and “Muffler” would sound great sandwiched between vintage tunes by the Doughboys and Hüsker Dü on a Calgary-to-edmonton driving playlist. And sometimes that’s exactly what you’re looking for. John Lucas