Three years after the release of ‘Perpetual Motion People’, Ezra Furman returns with his new album, ‘Transangelic Exodus’, for Bella Union. With a host of tangible and inextricably honest work already suggesting flashes of a seriously electric LP we dived in to what could be one of our most inclusive artists.
Most of us would agree that it’s not an easy thing to venture into the most troubling parts of your psyche and find something there that you feel comfortable discussing, and yet Furman’s latest release reaffirms that this process comes easier to him than most.
Much like its predecessor, Transangelic Exodus celebrates the chaos that lurks within every aspect of life: in true Furman form, it leans into the anxieties that most of us try to avoid, and forces us to confront unnerving (but painfully accurate) concepts as they make themselves known with every new track.
Although the album shares many similarities with ‘Perpetual Motion People’, it also shows a clear development from Ezra’s earlier work both musically and lyrically. Much like Furman’s previous record, its sound draws on a range of influences, from punk, to rock and roll, hip hop, and even 80’s synth pop.
Such a mix makes for a chaotic combination, and helps to drive home the feelings of fear and paranoia that seem to be a recurring theme in Furman’s work. Despite the fact that at times this can make for an overwhelming sound, Ezra’s voice is never lost amidst the madness. His words manage to guide us through each song and help to make sense of his chaotic and unsettling work; with every tumultuous tune there is always, vitally, a stem of truth.
Musically, whereas the self-reflective and somewhat morose lyrics that feature heavily on ‘Perpetual Motion People’ are often accompanied by upbeat melodies to lighten the mood, ‘Transangelic Exodus’ presents us with a darker, more intense sound. Even so, somehow the tone of this record seems more hopeful than the last. It wrestles with overarching themes of exclusion, persecution and revolution, but does so with a firm and unwavering grip.
If Furman’s previous release dealt with the struggles of living life as a social outsider, his latest album acknowledges that the feelings of marginality that this can create can, ironically, draw us closer to others that also feel out-cast. His lyrics are a reminder to the downtrodden that they are not alone, as through our own experiences comes understanding of others’ struggles.
‘Transangelic Exodus’ is, in total, a powerful call to arms that gives strength to those who feel they need it, and truly rejoices in the power of the individual. It’s colourful combination of sounds and insightful lyrics are a true testament to Furman’s creativity, and assures us that no matter the climate, no matter the cultural reference points which surround us, a voice spoken with honesty and authenticity is better than any noise in the world.