Album review: Ezra Furman

Ezra Furman - Perpetual Motion People (Bella Union)

Ezra Furman.

Ezra Furman.

EZRA FURMAN makes no apologies for his cross dressing and gender bending. He makes no apologies either for being a man of faith and a practicing Jew. In one go, he has just bullet riddled a host of stereotypes and expectations.

This, however, is the cherry on top. The Chicagoan is high calibre singer-songwriter as demonstrated on his magnificent new album, Perpetual Motion People. Furman seeks to celebrate humanity and individuality in all its complexities and eccentricities, and argues for people to be free to be who they truly are, as captured on the proudly defiant 'Body Was Made'. Given this stance it makes sense Furman is indie to the core, given the freedom it allows to explore a variety of genres without sounding unfocused.

Opener 'Restless Year' is off-kilter surf-pop with Furman sounding both mad and dangerous; 'Lousy Connection' draws on 50s doo-wop and pop-balladry, but rises to a glorious, heart swelling, indie-rock chorus - one of the best choruses in a rock song you'll hear this year and worthy of being a show stopper in a musical; 'Hour Of Deepest Need' is a powerful country ballad; while another highlight, 'Ordinary Life' channels Ziggy-era Bowie through Neutral Milk Hotel Again. As is so often, Furman's melodic abilities, and most of all, his point of view and vocal delivery, cut through and rise above the influences on display.

The closer, the Christian-folk song 'One Day I Will Sin No More' is powerful in its honesty and restraint, and ends the album as a further defiant gesture to anyone who would try to pigeon-hole Furman. A serious contender for album of the year.

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