I read somewhere (on his website, I think) that Chicago wunderkind Ezra Furman was on the verge of giving up the ghost on making music and that it was a combination of a positive Guardian review (of this album) and the support shown by the likes (again!) of 6 Music’s Marc Riley that convinced him to keep going. Of that we should all be thankful since, despite the fact that Day Of The Dog is probably the album with the most (obvious) influences since I heard the likes of Todd Rundgren’s A Wizard, A True Star or The Magnetic Fields’ masterpiece 69 Love Songs, it’s an irresistible fusion from start to finish. Indeed, Furman gets his retaliation in early (against any accusations of plagiarism) by citing his influences (Bo Diddley, Tom Waits, The Velvet Underground et al) on an 'index’ on the album sleeve.
In addition to those cited, I can also detect hints of Motown, rock n’ roll (more generally), Neil Young (on the mesmerising title song), Springsteen (the sax breaks, in particular), Jonathan Richman (I guess, read The Velvets) and punk (particularly lyrically on the likes of I Wanna Destroy Myself and Tell ‘Em All To Go To Hell). Furman’s lyrics reflect the man’s obvious inner turmoil between his Jewish faith and his tendencies (shall we say) to push the boundaries of acceptable social convention, but his passion is there for all to see (and hear). Whether it be the beauty of songs likes My Zero, The Mall (the only non-Furman song, but still totally in keeping with the infectious nature of the album) and Cherry Lane, the catchy dynamism of I Wanna Destroy Myself, Walk On In Darkness and (a personal favourite) Anything Can Happen or the heavier, Reed-inspired Been So Strange and Slacker/Adria, Furman shows he can infuse any genre with a new sense of inspiration and urgency. It’s the sort of album that took me a few listens to realise the real quality (and depth) of these songs. Now I’m hooked.
on 29 May 2015
Like a breath of fresh air, or more like a huge gust.............different, great rythms, lyrics, melodies and all with Ezras slightly rough discordant vocals overlaying some excellent music. He is not trying to be like anyone else and he definately is unique. I saw him on Later Live with Jools and before he had finished his set I had bought this album. The album has depth, variety and is an absolute joy. Buy it, turn the volume up and give yourself a treat.
on 4 October 2014
Cracking album, saw Ezra Furman at this years Great Escape festival in Brighton by accident, and was blown away. This is such a strong album, no duff tracks at all. Ok, some of his influences are a bit obvious (as he alludes to in the sleeve notes), but the tunes are so great it doesn't matter. Deserves to be selling by the truck load.
on 14 February 2014
The guy's a genius, if 'My Zero' was the only decent song on the album i'd have given it 5 Stars but it's not! the whole album is, as Lauren Laverne says on Radio 6 about 6 times a minute, Amazing! It encompasses pretty much the history of pop rock from Buddy Holly through Bob Dylan via Jonathan Richman & Elvis Costello performed as if he's Iggy Pop. Needless to say he and his Boyfriends are astonishing live.