Reviewed by James Lavender
Ezra Furman cuts a striking figure on the cover of Perpetual Motion People wearing a dress, stockings and lipstick. This cross-dressing is also something he does in his live shows, which have been described as “staggering…the real deal”. From the look and sound of his new album, he seems like a man who doesn’t fear anything, but upon closer listening, you realise that Furman is communicating a sense of dislocation which comes across as sparky pop tunes.
And what tunes! Furman follows the vein of great American alternatives, such as Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, Talking Heads and the Violent Femmes, whose influence can be heard most notably on the first single ‘Restless Year’. He takes influences from everywhere and from every period of music. You can hear 1920s jazz and music hall on ‘Haunted Head’, whilst the fuzzy guitar and heavy bass on ‘Tip of a Match’ is reminiscent of The Pixies. One of the highlights of the album is ‘Pot Holes’, which sounds like a vintage 1950s Rock’n’Roll song, complete with supporting do-wops.
As a singer, Furman has a whining voice, but in a good way. His singing style is, again, very reminiscent of the Violent Femmes’ Gordon Gano, They Might Be Giant’s John Linnell, with a bit of Lou Reed thrown into the mix.
With Perpetual Motion People, Furman has borne his heart and soul into this album, but rather than being a long dark night of the soul, it is a colourful and joyous pop rock album which people can dance along with and enjoy.
Recommended Track: Pot Holes