fri 30/09/2022

Album: Ezra Furman - All of Us Flames | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Ezra Furman - All of Us Flames

Album: Ezra Furman - All of Us Flames

Where a classic American musical sensibility unites with anger

Ezra Furman's 'All Of Us Flames': a grand album

The third track of All Of Us Flames is titled “Dressed in Black.” Its protagonist “come[s] to me by night beneath my window sill…you leave before the sun comes up. Haunted eyes, you’ve got those haunted eyes.” Though tortured, this relationship doesn’t seemed to be doomed despite a mention of weapons.

Ezra Furman’s “Dressed in Black” shares it title with a March 1966 Shangri-Las B-side telling the tale of a forcibly sundered love. “They said he was much too wild for me,” wails a broken Mary Weiss. “They thought we were too young to be in love… I climb the stairs, I shut the door, I turn the lock, Alone, once more, And no one can hear me cry.” The epic quality of Furman’s song echoes the best Shangri-Las creations – it is a girl-group homage. Inspiration is not hidden.

Elsewhere, the album’s 11 other song-stories also nod to this girl-group sensibility while evincing an attentiveness to early Bruce Springsteen. Furman has said Bob Dylan's Eighties albums were a conscious touchstone. Slabs of dissonance and Eighties-style wobbly keyboards keep things edgy. As does the “queer girl gang” of “Lilac and Black.” The winningly titled “Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club” brings hints of Suicide to the table.

All Of Us Flames is a grand album, equally about musical and narrative drama. The lyrics address how the marginalised or weak must stick together and whether they can slot into a society ruled by norms. An ever-present anger is framed within careful arrangements pushing towards an American classicism.

There is none of the frustrating scrappiness of her last album, 2019's Twelve Nudes. Perhaps more trouble has been taken than with previous albums. Or perhaps each of Furman’s album should be taken without reference to what came before. Either way, All Of Us Flames is a winner.

@MrKieronTyler

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