Album review: Ezra Furman's Perpetual Motion People - irresistibly energetic
The glam-punk misfit will widen his circle of fans with his latest, wonderfully diverse set, which balances on the edge of chaos.
On Perpetual Motion People, the third solo album from Ezra Furman, the Chicago-born, cross-dressing, Jewish, bisexual, glam-punk misfit sounds as delightfully irresistible and as subversive as Jonathan Richman, Lou Reed and Beck stirred together into one great big pot of Chuck Berry jam.
It's hardly surprising that Furman says this wonderfully diverse album was created by and for, "people who can never truly settle". The 28-year-old singer's struggle with depression and mental illness was well documented throughout his earlier music, and it's a theme that continues here, most notably on the Lennon-esque Can I Sleep In Your Brain? and the stripped-back, soul-baring Ordinary Life, where Furman talks about, "the human mind gets way f****** sick of beauty/ and I know and it's happened to me, again and again".
On the single Lousy Connection, a song that channels more doo-wop than a barbershop quartet sing-off, Furman declares "I don't wanna be the bad guy/ I wanna see myself from the outside" over a rousing chorus of swinging brass and stomped piano.
Meanwhile, Tip of a Match throws down a fuzzy garage rock riff that would please The Stooges, before Body Was Made adds a little 1980s sheen to its indie pop. In less-talented hands, this could all sound very bleak and depressing, but under Furman's energetic guidance these songs balance on the edge of chaos, seemingly united by a hopeful call to just get on with it.
Furman may not ever become a household name, but with Perpetual Motion People there's certainly going to be plenty more people eager to hear what he has to say.
Ezra Furman Perpetual Motion People (Bella Union)