thu 17/10/2019

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


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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