Ezra Furman “Transangelic Exodus”
We first encountered Ezra at a gig shortly after the release of his last album, “Perpetual Motion People”, and it was an enlightening experience. It was good to see an artist who was so varied and had such an attachment to his audience. However, it was still a little surprising to then see his popularity spread so quickly. Mainly because the mass media usually fails to recognise genuine talent!
Any fears that the success may have led to him ‘selling out’ are put to bed with opening number “Suck The Blood From My Wound”. From its uncommercial title to its ‘wonky’ sound, it’s a statement that he still wants to challenge the listener. As the lyrics state, he still realises that he is essentially making music for people that, to others, “will always be the freaks”.
Challenging but accessible music is what Ezra does so well. You see it with songs like “Driving Down To L.A.” and “God Lifts Up The Lowly” which somehow manage to be slower, ballad type tracks but still manage to jar. With songs like “The Great Unknown” and “From A Beach House”, it’s almost like you have to ‘work’ to realise just how good they are. They don’t ‘catch you’ on first listen, it takes time for the hooks to get hold of you.
That’s not to say he isn’t capable of pulling out a couple of instant attention grabbers. “No Place” with its almost tribal electronic feel will immediately have you gripped. Whilst “Love So Bad” has a doo-wop feel and smacks of the song that’ll be the breakthrough one for this album.
This release is full of twists and turns but not just from song to song. There are enough changes in style and shifts in sound within individual numbers like “Come Here Get Away From Me” and “Psalm 151” to make you dizzy.
That’s the thing with Ezra Furman, there is a real artistry to his music. It almost feels like it’s just his thoughts spiralling out directly from his brain and on to the record. It borders on being mad and incoherent, but is still held together by a sense of melody and brilliance. In a relatively bland music scene, it’s great to have a musician who is truly inventive and ‘different’.