fri 07/05/2021

CD: Ezra Furman – Perpetual Motion People | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Ezra Furman – Perpetual Motion People

CD: Ezra Furman – Perpetual Motion People

Doo-wop and honking sax on the musical eccentric’s calling card to a mass audience

Ezra Furman's 'Perpetual Motion People': diverse

“I’m having too much fun, my arms around the toilet like a long-lost chum, I’m kneeling at the throne…I’m learning what it means to really pray.” Four tracks into Perpetual Motion People, on “Haunted Head”, Ezra Furman paints a picture which must be drawn from real life. If this album screams one thing loudest, it’s that Furman isn’t keeping anything hidden. What’s also more than apparent is the eccentricity of this musical vision.

“I’m having too much fun, my arms around the toilet like a long-lost chum, I’m kneeling at the throne…I’m learning what it means to really pray.” Four tracks into Perpetual Motion People, on “Haunted Head”, Ezra Furman paints a picture which must be drawn from real life. If this album screams one thing loudest, it’s that Furman isn’t keeping anything hidden. What’s also more than apparent is the eccentricity of this musical vision. With honking sax, country-tinged confessions, doo-wop and nods to Todd Rundgren, The Violent Femmes and Rufus Wainwright, the tune-stuffed Perpetual Motion People is unlike anything else.

Perpetual Motion People is the Chicago-born, San Francisco-resident Furman’s sixth album overall; the third he’s made solo. Belatedly perhaps, it’s his calling card to a mass audience. That good, that fun, that self-deprecating, it can’t fail to find a ready audience of malcontents and misfits – those who need an individual voice, those who have no time for trends and being spoon-fed whichever tropes are currently on the menu.    

This is a diverse album. “Pot Holes” crosses The Coasters, The Cadillacs’ doo-wop classic “Speedo” and the spew-of-words songs Bruce Springsteen specialised in around the time of his debut album Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ.  It’s followed by “Can I Sleep in Your Brain”, the first half of which suggests a more than passing acquaintance with Mind Games-era John Lennon, both musically and thematically. Next up is the acoustic, solo gospel-blues of the album’s closer “One Day I Will Sin no More” (most probably an unachievable ambition for Furman). If any of this suggests Perpetual Motion People is either incoherent or scattershot – it isn’t. Furman’s voice is so strong he pulls it all together with disarming ease. He may be out there on his own, but he’s also irresistible.

Overleaf: watch the video for “Restless Year” from Ezra Furman’s Perpertual Motion People

 

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