Ezra Furman’s Big Fugitive Life builds upon his classic Rock and Roll sound, smothered in a modern day twist. Though his album received raving reviews, it’s this six-track release that does more for the singer.
It’s a tale of two halves. For the first three songs, we’re treated to a slightly altered version of the sound we heard on ‘Perpetual Motion People’. There’s a softer tone in Furman’s vocals and it seems more telling, as if we’re listening to an honest, revealing story of his life. Though it has its larger than life moments, as we would expect, this whole release feels like it should be titled ‘This Is Me’. It gives away the sense we’re getting something more than we have before, and it feels gratifying. We’re used to his eccentric style as his vocals clash with a melody that oozes sex appeal, however, Big Fugitive Life gives us a comforting, laid-back version right from ‘Teddy I’m Ready’. It’s Little Piece Of Trash that holds the most similarity to the recent album, a steady introduction of surf-rock prevails before a pop-styled melody kicks in and makes for one of the best songs out of the six.
After the first three tracks have introduced Ezra Furman and his reworked sound in 2016, things take a turn for the final eight minutes. We don’t get that confident character or a larger-than-life sound. Instead everything is stripped back to an acoustic guitar and vocals that seem timid. It’s brutally revealing and can, potentially, reveal Ezra’s flaws – not that the music allows us to do that because it’s so enchanting and thought-provoking at times. It comes as an unexpected surprise, but as soon as it arrives it feels like something we have all longed for since the beginning. ‘Splash of Light’ takes a darker turn and almost seems to contemplate the meaning of life. “Me and all my friends, we have to pretend that it all makes sense,” he sings with a raspy lower tone that fits perfectly between chords on the lower end of the guitar.
People may not pay attention to an extended play as much as a record, but Big Fugitive Life is going to wake us up and prove that we don’t know Ezra and his musical ability as much as we thought we did. Maybe now the full circle is complete, but something about this says that there’s still a lot more to come from your favourite eccentric.