thu 19/09/2019

CD: Ezra Furman - Twelve Nudes | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Ezra Furman - Twelve Nudes

CD: Ezra Furman - Twelve Nudes

American maverick sells himself short by adopting a restrictive punk slant

Ezra Furman's 'Twelve Nudes: as its cover image suggests, it seemingly centres on the self

“This is our punk record,” says Ezra Furman of Twelve Nudes in its PR bumpf. In practice, the punk slant is manifested through distorted guitars, hell-for-leather tempi and howling vocals. The edgiest moment is the 55-second “Blown”, a close relative of the early Cloud Nothings and Swell Maps as they grappled with the then-current music zeitgeist.

And as it was in 1976, when the momentum of The Ramones’ debut album was broken by the measured “I Wanna be Your Boyfriend”, the tumult is interrupted by the unhurried, similarly titled “I Wanna be Your Girlfriend”. Aside from this and “In America’s” hints of Springsteen, nine of the 27-minute Twelve Nudes’ 11 tracks chime with Furman’s vision.

More interesting than the punk angle is his acknowledgment of the influence of the poet Anne Carson. In The Glass Essay, she writes of 13 nudes – each manifesting “naked glimpses of my soul.” Of the 13th, which Furman stops short of, Carson says it is “not my body, not a woman’s body, it was the body of us all.” Furman therefore seems to be saying that Twelve Nudes centres on the self.

His last album, Transangelic Exodus, was a scattershot though impressively impressionistic howl of rage made in reaction to what the world had come to. Twelve Nudes is more focussed as it features linear, beginning, middle and end songs; it’s more in line with 2015’s Perpetual Motion People than its predecessor.

As a stylistic flipside to Furman’s stately contributions to the TV show Sex Education, Twelve Nudes further confirms that Furman has a lot to offer. But he’s treading water with the punky musical palette. Perhaps, at some point, all aspects who he is could be brought together on one album. He is a remarkable talent, and it would great to hear him make this leap.

Furman's acknowledgment of the influence of the poet Anne Carson is more interesting than the punk angle

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

Advertising feature

★★★★★

A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway

 

Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.

 

★★★★★

This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman

 

Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.

 

Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.