Ezra Furman – The Big Fugitive Life (Album Review)

ezra slide - Ezra Furman - The Big Fugitive Life (Album Review)

Ezra Furman – The Big Fugitive Life (Album Review)

ezra furman 2 - Ezra Furman - The Big Fugitive Life (Album Review)

The American artist Ezra Furman began his musical career as the leader of the four-member band Ezra Furman & the Harpoons, which formed in 2006 in Chicago, Illinois. After releasing three albums (2007’s Banging Down the Doors, 2008’s Inside the Human Body, and 2011’s Mysterious Power) under the group’s name, Furman moved on to become a solo artist, backed up by a new set of musicians. The first fruit of that new endeavor was 2012’s The Year of the Returning, followed up by 2013’s Day of the Dog and 2015’s eclectic Perpetual Motion People. After only a year, Furman released Songs by Others – a new EP, comprised by covers of a diversity of songs by the likes of Beck, Little Richard, Arcade Fire, and The Replacements. Fresh from the heels of this celebration of influences and inspirations, Furman follows it up quickly with another EP; this time, consisting of songs that he apparently wrote for his previous two full-lengths, but which did not make it to the final selection.

Released on August 19, 2016, Furman’s latest EP, The Big Fugitive Life, is a more stylistically cohesive affair. In it, Furman’s proclivity for using an entire palette of styles seemed to have been narrowed down into focus, yet still kaleidoscopic for good measure. Despite this, the eclectic tendencies remain as bright and buoyant as usual. The album opens with the horn-adorned Rock ’n’ Roll shout-out and ‘60s-flavored Progressive Pop of “Teddy, I’m Ready,” a response song to Little Richard’s “Ready Teddy,” which Furman covered in his previous EP. Following next is the groovy and engaging “Halley’s Comet,” an angular Alternative Rock track that will fit well on a playlist that includes Sufjan Steven’s “Come On! Feel the Illinoise!,” The Wannadies’ “Might Be Stars,” and The Candyskins’ “Feed It.” The third of the EP’s initial triumvirate of upbeat songs, “Little Piece of Trash” further speeds up the pace of the mood. Its Ska/Punk flourishes may recall the initiated of the likes of The Clash (“Hitsville U.K.”), Bad Manners (“Special Brew”), English Beat (“Mirror in the Bathroom”), The Toasters (“Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down”), and The Libertines (“Can’t Stand Me Now”).

The second half of The Big Fugitive Life finds Furman in an acoustic-oriented, pensive predisposition. “Penetrate” and “Splash of Light,” for instance, sparkle well and could pull some heartstrings with their plucked-guitar Alternative Country/Folk balladry. Furman’s vocals in these rustic Folk tracks come across as that of Gordon Gano when he and the rest of his band, Violent Femmes (“Good Feeling,” “Jesus Walking on the Water”), is being contemplative and melodramatic. Finally, Furman closes his latest oeuvre with the waltzy back-and-forth sway of the Klezmer-inspired “The Refugee,” whose choice of musical style serves well the lyrics, which, according to Furman himself, is an ode to his Jewish background. It shows also that despite his stylistic restraint in his approach to this new offering, Furman is still able to express his playfulness; and his confidence to toy with his aural palette could never really be suppressed.

 The Big Fugitive Life is a sneak peek into whatever bigger sonic landscape the quirky artist is currently painting and will surely soon unleash. CrypticRock gives Ezra Furman’s new album 4 out of 5 stars.

ezra - Ezra Furman - The Big Fugitive Life (Album Review)

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aLfie vera mella
aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature.In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music.As a means to further his passion for music, he formed the band haLf man haLf eLf. He now performs with another band, The Psychedelics.aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He began writing album reviews for CrypticRock in 2015.In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf? His next planned literary endeavor is to publish the remaining parts of the anthology and his works on Poetry, Fantasy Fiction, and Mythology.In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. He participates at various community events; and he explores the diverse cultural beauty of Canada whenever his schedule permits it.aLfie is a doting and dedicated father to his now ten-year-old son, Evawwen.

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