Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

All Of Us Flames finds Ezra Furman adopting a more reflective stance

"All Of Us Flames"

Release date: 26 August 2022
Ezra furman flames art
21 August 2022, 00:00 Written by John Amen

While Ezra Furman’s latest album, All Of Us Flames, doesn’t necessarily point to stylistic or thematic breakthroughs, it does indicate a significant shift in tone.

Furman’s new sequence is more soberly reflective than we’ve witnessed with her previous work, indicative of a socially and politically engaged artist who, over the last few years, has survived the Trump and Covid eras, emerged as a transgender woman, and witnessed the continued dissolution of global society and the environment.

“Train Comes Through”, replete with droning electric guitars, squealing synths, and lo-fi bass tones, underscores Furman’s career-long affinity with punk-Romanticism a la early Springsteen (“It’s a quiet night on Main Street where the poisoned water runs”). There’s a newfound gravitas here, however, Furman adopting a notably removed and observational stance.

“Throne”, featuring raspy horn sounds and static accents, brings to mind the garage-y gestalts of 2019’s Twelve Nudes. Lyrically, Furman demonstrates her absorption of a Dylan-esque brand of Judeo-Christian justice: “Those who sow will soon harvest / those who rule will soon be leaving the throne.” “Book of Our Names”, meanwhile, is Furman’s tribute to alt-America, an attempt to immortalise those lost “in a cruel machinery”.

“Point Me Toward the Real”, one of the album’s high points, may remind some listeners, at least melodically and ambiently, of “Driving Down to L.A.” (from 2018’s Transangelic Exodus). Furman wields a compelling narrative about readjusting to life following release from a psychiatric institute. She offers subtle descriptions (“Watching sunshine flash and my cigarette ash ’til the corporate logo burns”), capturing the way in which one can quickly and often inexplicably vacillate between confidence and doubt.

With “Ally Sheedy in the Breakfast Club”, Furman uses the 1985 film as a prompt to explore her own story (“The teenage girl I never got to be”). Her alternately clean and distorted voice contrasts effectively with lounge-y electronics and an atmospheric piano part. “Poor Girl A Long Way From Heaven” epitomises Furman’s gift for succinct phrases that carry metaphysical and ontological weight (“The human mind is a pile of shit / new life takes root in it / grows into the most complicated formations”).

The Bowie-esque “I Saw the Truth Undressing,” a strumming track with engaging synth runs and discordant flourishes, portrays truth as an elusive figure. The singer queries, “I feel I know her secret but just what do I know?” In this way, All Of Us Flames reveals a perhaps more humble and equanimous Furman, an empathetic artist still committed to truth-telling, still railing against the injustices of the world.

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