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Published on November 6th, 2019 | by voxx

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Ezra Furman – Twelve Nudes

The singer transcends the turmoil with a ferociously fun eighth LP…

Written in the summer of 2018, Ezra Furman’s eighth album shudders with the surreal dread and anxiety of the Trump era. “I should not be alone the way things are going,” he shrieks manically on the album’s opening track, before mourning the way he spent his 20s “rolling over for wealth and power” under the guise of personal freedom – a delusion he can no longer maintain in the current age.

Furman soundtracks his rude awakening with righteous but abundantly melodious punk. Evolving his previously reedy, restless croon into a rasping squall, he channels the wild, life-affirming energy of the Ramones and New York Dolls to capture the terrifying chaos, before reconfiguring it into something cathartic and rapturous.

Yet while Twelve Nudes exudes an urgent simplicity – songs are buoyed by frisky rhythms, big, bright riffs and ricocheting harmonies – Furman’s lyrics are far from slapdash. Rather, they are profound, sardonic and endlessly quotable. ‘My Teeth Hurt’, a song that seems to be about both gender dysphoria and dentistry, proves a particularly brilliant showcase for his wit (“the ache inside reminds my mind my body’s really there,” he wails at one point).

This combination of clever phrasing, cerebral concepts and brain-circumventing punk euphoria means Furman is able to have his cake and eat it: Twelve Nudes is a deliriously fun, seriously thought-provoking record that manages to gratify on every level.

- By Jake White


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