Ezra Furman – “Perpetual Motion People”

ezra-furman-perpetual-motion-people“You’ve gotta keep it new to keep it true,” from the confessional ballad “Ordinary Life,” sums up the essence of Ezra Furman’s sixth long player. Perpetual Motion People is a record that’s about change and fluidity and by far his most grandiose batch of songs yet. Furman is a musical chameleon, never content or with the intention of staying committed to a particular sound, but able to feel comfortable in any situation.
With The Harpoons, he went from writing no-nonsense 3-minute indie rock tracks to patient ballads like “Mysterious Power,” while Year of the Dog was a love letter addressed to punk rock. Perpetual Motion People is a frisky amalgamation of blues, rock and pop, with a heavy serving of saxophones.  Lyrically, Furman’s output has been honest, with topics ranging from identity (Furman has written about his gender fluidity) to struggles with mental illness. “Body Was Made” is a catchy two-stepper that calls for the intolerant to “fucking relax”. “Restless Year” is a upbeat romper where Furman lets it rip with his gritty vocals (part Frank Black, part Gordon Gano), claiming that he used to work for Death and how’s he ready for change when it finally presents itself.
On “Hour of Deepest Need” Furman slows it down and does his best Neil Young, stripping down his band to the bare to make the album’s tenderest track singing “If the turntable still starts / you can teach me how to waltz / and I’ll teach you how to feel really really bad.” He even gets all Leonard Cohen on “Watch You Go By,” where he talks about trying to distinguish music from heaven to music from hell.
With Perpetual Motion People, Furman is still witty and dynamic as ever and still feeling that mysterious power.