Ezra Furman, by his own admission here, is ready - and by the sound of this six track EP, what he’s ready for is more than cult stardom.
The Big Fugitive Life EP features songs that Furman describes as orphans, which either didn’t make the cut from his breakthrough record, last year’s Perpetual Motion People or 2012s The Year of No Returning.
Lead track "Teddy I'm Ready" is giddy with excitement. Starting with an impatient guitar riff the song explodes into life as he announces “Teddy, I’m ready to rock and roll.” The euphoria is ramped up with the addition of a delirious saxophone and so wired is his wonderfully wracked voice it sounds like he hasn’t slept in a week.
The lyrics are endlessly quotable throughout. "Little Piece of Trash" has the brilliant line “I don’t really give a fuck if they put me in a truck and send me off to sea”, during which Furman genuinely sounds like he couldn not give the proverbial fuck, which is one of the reasons he’s so marvellous.
While the first three songs here are all Rock 'n' Roll ebullience, on the final three Furman explores a more plaintive side to his writing. “Penetrate” is an acoustic ditty written in the spirit of American songwriters like Hank Williams or Woody Guthrie as he laments “Penetrate my country, penetrate my home.”
The closing “Refugee” is about a “Jew who refuses to die”, referencing the horror of World War II endured by his Grandfather. It’s the most nakedly personal song he’s written and shows that regardless of genre - be it punk, glam-rock or troubadour balladry, Furman may be a musical chameleon, but always retains a brilliant shape.
The Big Fugitive Life EP is a perfect bookend to the Perpetual Motion People-era Furman; it’ll be fascinating to see where he goes next.