French Style Furs is a side project of members of Cold War Kids and We Barbarians and as a side project it started up partially through the spontaneous nature of the friendship between Nathan Willett, Matt Maust and Nathan Warkentin, as the project got its start when the trio would meet during stops in NYC.
Interestingly, the band’s aesthetic also began in a rather spontaneous fashion: Maust and Warkentin began recording drum and bass tracks during the winter of 13 when Willett showed up with a large book of poems written by a 20th century monk, Thomas Merton. The idea was that the new band would use Merton’s poetry as the basis of the album’s song lyrics, thanks in part to Merton’s concerns on social justice, pacifism and Eastern religion. As you hear it, it balances a sense of serenity with a plaintive urgency – as if it’s saying “be peaceful, now,” “be kind to others, now,” “seek justice now,” “seek love now” “all we have is now."
"Turn or Burn” is the latest single (and video) form the band’s forthcoming Is Exotic Bait, and the track is a slow-burning, sensual track. It suggests that the affairs of the heart are political, social and spiritual are all intertwined.
The video is incredibly sensual, as it’s shot in a lustrous, cinematic black and white. The woman smoking a cigarette is shot in such a way that it seems as though it’s the sexiest thing in the entire world.