Ezra Furman - Big Fugitive Life (Bella Union)

Acclaimed Chicagoan indie rock stalwart releases infectious new EP

Released Aug 18th, 2016 via Bella Union / By Richard Guy
Ezra Furman - Big Fugitive Life (Bella Union) Since dropping breakthrough set Day of the Dog in 2013, US singer -songwriter Ezra Furman has enjoyed a steady rise to prominence. With plenty of decent tracks already in the can, his live show has been making some serious waves. A medium billed and very well received stop at this year’s mothership of UK festivals, Glastonbury, set the stage nicely for some new material to emerge from the recording studio.

Big Fugitive Life is a bipolar affair, the first half is at its core is a mix of accomplished pop rock punctuated by sax breakdowns and serious grooves, whilst the second part takes things somewhere much darker. There are some truly caustic lyrics on display here and a throatier, more discordant vocal style. Nevertheless it proceeds with an addictive intensity that carries you through highs and lows, right the way from the opening bars to the closing fiddle solo of The Refugee.

Opener Teddy I’m Ready is built around a melody as sweet as it is simple, set to chunky driving guitars. It manages to sound somewhere in between Smashing Pumpkins and Van Morrison, a combo which it becomes apparent really works. In its closing bars Furman wails ‘I’m ready to rock and roll’. Well, at this point, it would seem so. Little Piece of Trash has a touch of punk to it, clocking in at just over 2 minutes it is a fast paced affair complete with some full on squawking from Furman. If there was a party track to be had, this would be it.

Furman’s band The Boyfriends are well known for their explosively tight live sound and on record things appear to be no different. It is in many places the contributions of sax man Tim Sandusky that elevate things far above the ordinary and provide some truly standout moments.

Whilst many records capture a mood, Big Fugitive Life captures a personality. It will not be everyone's bag but there is a lot on offer here and some of it is instantly infectious. If it does find its way under your skin it’s likely to stay there for a very long time.