Ezra Furman

Transangelic Exodus

Bella Union

Feb 09, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


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Transangelic Exodus is a record just as dramatic as its title. It is Ezra Furman's seventh album, his second on Bella Union, and his first under a new band name. Ezra Furman's Boy-Friends are dead: enter The Visions.

This drama is hardly unsurprising: Furman has always sought out theatricality in amongst catchy rock & roll tunes. On "God Lifts Up the Lowly" there are deep-bowed cellos and a twanging upright bass. "No Place" is all rumbling drums and muted trumpets.

Amidst this drama, there is vulnerability. Furman's personal life leaves a lot to be sung about: he is publicly queer, gender-fluid, and a devout Jew. Onstage he wears lipstick and dresses, and previous tracks (2015's "Body Was Made" and 2013's "Tell Em All to Go to Hell") have been celebrated as anthems for those left behind and left out of mainstream society.

These tracks try that too. "How long will we go along in exile?" he howls. "Drive with me into the great unknown," he sings, five tracks in. But something is cut shortthe songs are disparate and too obliquely personal to be the rallying calls for arms their lyrics suggest. These tracks still deal with religion, loneliness, and identity, but half-heartedly so.

This isn't to say there aren't some of the weird and wonderful moments we've come to expect from Furman's music. A dissonant synth breakdown in "Come Here Get Away From Me" is exciting, and album highlight "Maraschino-Red Dress $8.99 at Goodwill" rocks with a synth-led jolt. Furman's lyrical content goes from joyously idiosyncratic"I eat an orange every morning/And I take my time with the peel" ("Peel My Orange Every Morning")to tiring"You know I love you so bad/I don't believe in love" ("Love You So Bad").

Furman's outright ramshackle approach has lost its charm as his songs have become messy and overbearing. These songs are fun but confusing. They lack the allure of the straight-talking, catchy riffs which made his name. (www.ezrafurman.com)

Author rating: 5/10

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