Ezra Furman and the Harpoons
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Ezra Furman and the Harpoons

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Young, gifted and cracked

If you’re Ezra Furman, you’re right out of college and the man in the grey suit threatens to steal your soul, so you fend off encroaching suburbia with a batch of new tunes. On his second album of jittery, willfully naive folk-punk, Furman plays the alienated romantic geek, employing a wobbly sense of pitch to better effect than anyone since the early Violent Femmes. “We Should Fight,” the great howling mess of an opener, sets the tone, all raw guitars and protestations of uncompromising humanity. The rest of the songs—alternating between strident rockers and swooning ballads—are overwrought, goofy, achingly sincere and totally original. Even his failures are charmingly his own, like the damaged sea chantey that erupts in the middle of “The Dishwasher,” an otherwise meandering folk ballad. Real life will intrude soon enough for Furman. Thankfully, he appears committed to spending the interim bashing out songs, working on his poet-laureate credentials and celebrating the sheer, giddy wonder of being young and alive.

http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2008/10/ezra-furman-and-the-harpoons-inside-the-human-body.html - Paste Magazine


If Ezra Furman's first album was his The Times They Are A-Changin', his second is his Highway 61 Revisited. More amped up this time around and more band-oriented than before, instead of acting like an expansion to add flair to songs that Furman wrote on his acoustic, the Harpoons are an integral background component. Along with the band tightening and improving as musicians, Furman has also matured slightly. His yelp isn't quite as untamed as it was on the first go, possibly because he's gained control of pitch with practice, or perhaps because it doesn't seem as outrageous in context with the more crazed numbers. "Big Deal" starts out with an infuriated spittle-infused scream "In a trance in France I learned to dance!" before exploding into a frenetic, Frank Black meets Stiff Little Fingers punk nuke. Yes, punk. The punky aesthetic that filled the lyrics of "Banging Down the Doors" (evident by the introductory line, "This song's about a whore I knew in Chicago!") has bled into the music on a few songs here, and with the tempo raised, Furman blazes through his lines like an auctioneer, squeaking out "They put me in a cage and they put me on-stage and they told me I could never go home/The government paid for a place in the shade and then my mouth began to foam" at a mile-a-minute pace. It's a new angle showcasing the awkward adolescent turned aggressive anarchist, and the rockin' numbers rock accordingly, proving that the Boston-bred boys can branch out and competently conquer other genres when they put their minds to it, even when tackling the antithesis of folk. But Furman is always at his best when he slows down and connects on an intimate level. "Springfield, IL," "Weak Knees," "The World Is Alive," and especially the innocent Neil Young-ish chamber organ gem "If I Was a Baby" could have fit the earnestly enduring mold of his last album. A mature outing with the awkwardness subdued, all the boyish charm and lyrical finesse that made Ezra Furman & the Harpoons' freshman Minty Fresh release a success is evident, and many of these timeless tunes could be classics if they ever made their way into the mainstream.

By Jason Lymangrover

http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:apfixztkld0e - All Music


It’s easy to mention fellow wunderkinds like Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst and Beirut’s Zach Condon when talking about Ezra Furman, who’s barely into his 20s. It’s easier still to play the name game with Furman’s voice. Throughout Inside the Human Body, he floats between the crackling high-pitched yelps of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s Alec Ounsworth, the quick-tongued ramblings of Freewheelin’-era Dylan and the angry growls of Violent Femmes’ Gordon Gano—though if supersensitive Furman penned the Femmes’ “Add It Up,” he’d likely change the line “Why can’t I get just one fuck” to “Why can’t I get just one hug.” In spirit—and especially during live shows, where he’s all oddball storytelling and wide eyes—he’s reminiscent of Jonathan Richman when he fronted the Modern Lovers. With a similarly keen ability to color the mundane—“The Dishwasher” is about (duh) washing dishes; “Springfield, IL” chronicles a bus ride through the depressing capitol—what works for Furman and his band (all fellow Tufts University students) is what worked for virtually every band mentioned above. The territory they play may be nothing new (Richman had his Lou Reed, Clap Your Hands their Talking Heads, etc.), but the results can, at points, be inspired. And frontloading an album with your three best, catchiest tracks? That’s an old move, too. Not that we’re complaining.

-Tim Lowery

http://playboy.com/arts-entertainment/reviews/music/ezra-furman-inside-the-human-body/ezra-furman-inside-the-human-body.html - Playboy.com


Discography

"Banging Down the Doors" - Fall 2007 on Minty Fresh Records.

"Inside The Human Body" - October 2008 on Minty Fresh Records.

"MOON FACE: Bootlegs & Road Recordings 2006 - 2009" - October 2009 (Self-released).

MySpace.Com/EzraFurman

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/ezrafurmanandtheharpoons

twitter.com/ezrafurman

www.ezrafurman.com

Photos

Bio

Twenty three-year-old Chicago native Ezra Furman
received the greatest Bar Mitzvah present ever. At the
mere age of thirteen he was given a guitar, and ever since he
has been creating memorable and melodic songs with
reckless abandon.

Ezra's fantastic tales challenge your worldview while
pulsing with a frenetic rock energy that could make
even the dead dance.

In 2008, Ezra & The Harpoons appeared by invitation,
at a Lou Reed tribute at SXSW, performing for Lou
Reed himself, graduated college and . . . recorded their
current album, Inside The Human Body, with producer
Brian Deck.

As of 2009, the band has been on successful trips across
the U.S. and Europe, the latter including a well
received set at the Primavera Festival in Barcelona and in Chicago, IL at Lollapalooza.

Currently residing in Brooklyn, the band has returned from a
successful European tour. Besides touring Germany, Spain and the UK on this trip, Ezra & The Harpoons premiered on stages throughout
Austria to promote their #1 radio single on FM4 this summer with their song "Take Off Your Sunglasses".

After SXSW, the band is heading to Los Angeles to record new material with producer Doug Boehm [French Kicks, Starsailor] and are looking for a new label going forward.