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Freur was a Welsh new wave/synth-pop band featuring Karl Hyde and Rick Smith, who went on to form the successful electronic act Underworld. It was their second band, following their art school collaboration, The Screen Gemz. Their most well-known song is "Doot-Doot", which charted at number 59 on the UK Singles Chart.
|Origin||Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom|
The band was formed in the early 1980s in Cardiff, Wales by Hyde, Smith and Alfie Thomas. It originally had only a graphic 'squiggle' for a name. In 1983, after recruiting John Warwicker and drummer Bryn Burrows (formerly of the Fabulous Poodles), they got a recording contract with CBS Records. As the label insisted on a pronounceable name, the band made the compromise that the squiggle was pronounced Freur.
Their first and only hit single (number 17 in New Zealand, 24 in Germany, 36 in the Netherlands and 59 in the UK Singles Chart), was "Doot-Doot" (1983). It was recorded and co-produced by Alex Burak at The Point studio in London, which was controlled by Rupert Merton of Point Music publishing. Merton (who also had an early version of the Thompson Twins on his roster of artists) signed Freur.
The band released five further tracks after "Doot-Doot", between 1983 and 1985: "Matters of the Heart", "Runaway", "Riders in the Night", "The Devil and Darkness" and "Look in the Back for Answers". All failed to dent the UK chart.
Freur released two albums: Doot-Doot (1983) and Get Us out of Here (1986). The second LP was only released in Germany and the Netherlands. Freur also composed and performed the soundtrack to the movie Underworld (aka Transmutations), written by Clive Barker. Warwicker left the band in 1986 and Freur went into recess. In 1987, Hyde, Smith, Thomas and Burrows, along with bassist Baz Allen signed to Sire Records under a new name, Underworld, and found some success with the single "Underneath the Radar" (1988) (it peaked in Australia at No. 5), before initially folding in 1990. The band re-formed in 1991 under the same name to become the successful dance and electronica act responsible for a number of well received albums and the 1996 hit single "Born Slippy .NUXX".
The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles would list Freur under the symbol, with the translation by the side, until the late 1990s. John Warwicker is a video artist in the graphic design collective Tomato, whose founders include Hyde and Smith. "Doot Doot" has been used in Vanilla Sky, Valley Girls, a second season episode of Gossip Girl, the last episode of Glory Daze and in the 2009 US ad campaign for the Palm Pre smartphone. Most recently it can be heard in the movie Let Me In (released 1 October 2010 in the US) from a tape player in the basement scene.
The now defunct UK magazine Sounds referred to the band as "Elephant with a stick of Rhubarb" because of the shape of the squiggle.
- Transmutations (1985) (unreleased)
|"Matters of the Heart"||–||–||–||–|
|"Riders in the Night"||–||–||–||–|
|1984||"The Devil and Darkness"||–||–||–||–||Get Us Out of Here|
|1985||"Look in the Back for Answers"||–||–||–||–|
|1986||"The Piano Song"||–||–||–||–|
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