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Flirting with danger

Portland boy, half of Dangerous Muse, making good as gender-bending electro-pop star
By TONY GIAMPETRUZZI  |  October 10, 2006

FUTURE FROM THE PAST: Dangerous duo go for a nationwide ride.

Mike Furey wants to play Bubba’s Sulky Lounge in South Portland, Maine.

It’s a rather unremarkable goal, particularly when you’re half of Dangerous Muse, the duo whose first video, “The Rejection,” is charting in the top two on LOGO network’s video countdown show, The Click List, beating out major acts like Justin Timberlake and Madonna.

Top videos on the so-called “gay network” are selected by viewers who vote by clicking their faves on LOGO’s Web site, and Furey, a native South Portlander, and his musical partner, Tom Napack, are seeing stars.

“Oh, it’s wild — I cried. OK, I didn’t cry, but I definitely had a minute when the video hit in real time, and I’m definitely not a hyper-emotional person,” says Furey of seeing the video hit the small screen for the first time a couple weeks ago when he and Napack debuted it live on LOGO.

“I don’t really know how to describe it! I guess it could be compared to how someone feels when they are given an award for their accomplishments. It’s an acknowledgement that ‘what you guys are doing is real.’”

The video, which, like the song, explores the gray area that seems to define sexuality these days (and, perhaps, the sexuality of Napack and Furey — they don’t like labels) is indeed flinging the duo who were the darlings of MySpace for more than a year into the mainstream, but they’ve had some help along the way.

The gay magazine of record, The Advocate, declared with a dramatic cover shot of the guys last summer that Furey and Napack are “out musicians on the brink of stardom,” but the pair says the magazine was just a little more than half right.

At the time, “The Rejection” had hit Billboard charts with a bang, and it began selling swiftly on iTunes (it actually debuted on the site’s dance chart in the number-two spot last November.)

But, if “out” means that the pair is “openly gay,” the queer mag got it just a little bit wrong.

“It was a concern, but we really tried to stress the fact that our sexuality is not able to be defined in such exclusive terms,” says Napack, 21, a native of suburban Maryland who is currently a student at New York City’s Fordham University.

To which Furey, 23, Muse’s voice and lyricist quickly — coyly — adds: “I think the cover is amazing.”

Like to like you
What The Advocate was trying to convey is that a new breed of pansexual musicians are pumping out some pretty edgy music, and Dangerous Muse, with their break-out dance hit, a little bit peppy Pet Shop Boys (think Very’s “Can You Forgive Her”) and a little bit dark, a la Depeche Mode, are at the forefront of the movement.

“The Rejection”’s meaning is as fuzzy as the young men who wrote it are bewitchingly glam, if not glossy.

“She wept and wiped her face with one hand/said that we can’t be friends./‘How could you not want me. I’m hot. Just tell me. It’s okay.’/‘Stop trying. I don’t want you.’/‘You don’t want to stop trying./You want me, well/I want to dance.’”

It’s impossible not to read into Furey’s lyrics.

And, although you often expect videos to answer some of the questions you might have about the lyrics, “The Rejection” video, which explores a coterie of sexy young people in different states of emotional flux (yes, there’s a locker room scene), it does little to clear up any lingering questions about the pair.

Dangerous Muse like it that way — they’re leaving any interpretation of their songs, which almost comprise an upcoming LP, up to the listener because, frankly, they can’t even classify their music, let alone place themselves on the Kinsey Scale. Note: The Advocate said their music is “supersexual.”

“What does supersexual mean? Well, a lot of that interview was really spent trying to find words to describe what we’re doing,” says Furey. “But what we’re about is so amorphic.”

To which Napack responds: “It’s so sexual that it goes beyond being labeled, or being exclusive.”

Yes, these guys are among a growing generation that doesn’t like the words gay and straight.

“We like to be multidimensional and appreciated by everybody,” says Furey. “We don’t want to apply sexual labels to our music, or any labels to our music.”

I want to dance
“The Rejection,” its remixes, the follow-up “Apart,” and what is supposed to be a full release in the coming months, don’t neatly fall into what most would consider dance music. But they certainly inspire footwork. Napack, who says his musical frame of reference is New Wave from 1979 to 1981 and Furey, who prefers more contemporary music, are poster children of a growing genre, live dance, with bits of an electroclash influence, something that’s very hot in downtown nightspots these days. Yeah, they’re dance, all right, but they’re pushing the envelope when it comes to performance — think eyeliner, shredded clothes, and insane energy.

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  Topics: New England Music News , Social Software and Tagging , Internet , Science and Technology ,  More more >
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