Chicago via San Francisco artist Ezra Furman releases his third solo album Perpetual Motion People. Like a stateside Jamie T, Furman offers up a splash of upbeat kitchen sink numbers instilled with a smidgen of righteous punk-inspired rebellion and introspective reflection. Out on CD and limited edition blue vinyl LP from Bella Union.
5/10 Robin Staff review, 01 July 2015
It’s the hottest day of the year and the last thing we need is summer jams, but does Ezra Furman listen? No. Dude is loudly talk-singing like the lead singer of the Waterboys commentating on an overlong final of Wimbledon, smashing instruments loudly against his head and introducing bass lines like Oscar nominees. Imagine having a conversation with this screaming, scowling mess of a pop star. It’d be awful.
‘Perpetual Motion People’ is ultimately a record betrayed by the personality fronting it, and depending on the mood you’re in, your mileage for his performance may vary: at times it can be charming -- fitting for the bluster of trumpets and ‘60s piano romp -- and even self-aware, as he screams “I don’t wanna be the bad guy!” over a Beatles melody. Seconds later, though, he can disconnect himself from reality and go back into full throttle obnoxious mode (like when he gleefully boasts about wearing Native American headdresses. or bemoans “social police” over twinkling piano). Ultimately, Furman’s idea of pop is fluorescent and fantastical: he wants to cram as many melodies, rhymes and instruments into the smallest space possible. There’s little space to breathe.
Furman’s pop debauchery could be enjoyable in the right hands, but his sharp, untenable vocal delivery conflates rather gruesomely with the equally bright and blinding pop music behind him -- the swirling organs, booming sax and ridiculous keys all need someone to reign them in, and Furman’s too busy vomiting stories all over the place. Look for the one moment of downtime on the late-evening strummed “Watch You Go By”. It's a bit like Destroyer; Phil says it needs destroying.
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- Perpetual Motion People by Ezra Furman
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