What a doozie. Ezra Furman ‘s second studio album after her work with The Harpoons is absolutely sublime. Inspired as much by punk rock as gospel, doo-wop and rock ‘n’ roll, the song writing was kicked up several notches into something really special.
Fusing her spiritual side with And Maybe God Is A Train, with real fury in Tell ‘Am All To Go To Hell, Furman was becoming increasingly disillusioned with the music industry. She’d contemplated becoming a rabbi or a writer instead, until this album, while not quite a breakthrough, was starting to bring her a cult audience. Her gigs were furious, unpredictable and fun, and new backing band The Boyfriends were incredible musicians. There was a sense of always being on the brink of chaos, which is great to witness.
I first saw Furman and The Boyfriends at Glasgow School of Art a couple of years later, but this album was the first to make me sit up and take notice. Anything Can Happen , with its staccato piano and manic rock ‘n’ roll reinvented the classic 50s template, whereas My Zero was pop with woozy synth and wide -eyed lyrics about lost love in vast prairies. It was like Violent Femmes playing Springsteen with a rocket up its ass.
She’s now widely adored and recognised as one of the best songwriters of her generation, a spokesperson for queer, trans kids and misfits everywhere, but it was this album that felt like being let in on a secret. It’s still pretty much perfection in every way. There’s not a bit of filler anywhere. Simon Raymonde, who runs the brilliant label Bella Union, agreed and signed her up. Marc Riley had her over for several sessions on BBC 6 Music. They knew early on-she’s incredibly special… Proof, as ever, that intelligent outsiders make the best music.