Album Review: Ezra Furman – Perpetual Motion People

He’s mixed up, Ezra Furman. His third album, and first for Bella Union, Perpetual Motion People mixes up genres as it sweeps through indie, rock and roll, blues, folk, musical theatre (well, almost) and a host of other things, and he shoots from the heart about his battles with mental illness, love and the lack of it, and his constantly flitting, mixed up thoughts. Certainly, throughout the album, there’s no thought in his mind not to constantly express what he is feeling of thinking at the particular moment he spits out lines that are laced with barb, humour, thought and brutal honesty.

That honesty, and his battles with his own mental frailties are examined in the indie soul shuffle of ‘Haunted Head’, where Ezra plays with thoughts of emptiness and loneliness, and ‘Can I Sleep In Your Brain?’, a (lovely) torch song for the troubled. He touches on it elsewhere – in ‘Ordinary Life’, it’s depression and the need to destroy what is his – ‘I’m sick of this record already’ he sings, before expressing his wish to ‘start all over again’, using it a metaphor for turning over a new leaf, finding something to live for while detailing his darkest thoughts.

Elsewhere there’s both apocalyptic talk and cloudy sexual references galore in Body Was Made, that strolls on onward like the incarnation of Lou Reed was amongst us once more. And that’s just the thing – despite the sometimes uncomfortable nature of the lyrics, it’s wrapped up in such a deliriously catchy set of songs, he could sing anything.

It’s good old fashioned rock and roll, with lavish doses of saxophones, horns and do-wop backing where Furman really triumphs. Lousy Connection is impossibly melodic, while Wobbly and Pot Holes don’t fall far short. Just to impress his range of songwriting though, just try and resist the melancholy charms of Watch You Go By, I dare you.

Yes it’s mixed up. But Perpetual Motion People is also engaging, likeable, interesting and most of all brilliant. Don’t ever stop changing, Ezra Furman.

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