Review by Claire Todd
Twelve Nudes, the newest album by Ezra Furman, distinguishes itself from his previous work by adopting a drastically different sound. Instead of hearing a funky, acoustic, alternative standard, we hear Furman dip his toes into the punk rock scene.
The album starts off with a barrage of genre-establishing songs akin to punk rock heavy hitters like The Violent Femmes and Minor Threat. “Calm Down aka I Should Not Be Alone” stands out as the album opener with its upbeat tempo and rhythmic lyrics, and “Evening Prayer” contrasts it comparatively slower tempo with lyrics like “If you’ve got the taste for transcendence That translates your love into action And participate in the fight now For a creed you can truly believe.” Both of these songs, among many others, use different methods to preach themes of individualism, anarchy, and acceptance.
“I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend” is one of the singles, and a stand out song on the album. It completely changes the mood with its Fifties Doo Wop sound. The song tells the story of a Transgender individual who really wants to be your girlfriend. It has a melancholy hopefulness that weaves itself in the lyrics and sound of the song.
Unfortunately, the aesthetic of the album sometimes gets in the way of the message Furman is sending with his lyrics. The production on the vocals is too fuzzy to understand the lyrics, and the songs have a tendency to get monotonous. Some songs are hard to distinguish in the mishmash of driving guitar and short choruses. While the album has some aspects that could be improved upon, the commitment to the style in the music and lyrics makes the album pretty good.
- Calm Down aka I Should Not Be Alone
- Evening Prayer aka Justice
- Transition From Nowhere
- Rated R Crusaders
- I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend
- My Teeth Hurt
- In America
- What Can You Do But Rock n Roll