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Ezra Furman & the Harpoons

Banging Down the Doors

(Minty Fresh; US: 7 Aug 2007; UK: Available as import)

Ezra Furman is a mere 20 years old, and while his youth is apparant in his energy, he’s got a bit more maturity fixed into his songwriting. Furman’s folk tunes filtered through punk’s speed-addled rough edges are exciting and earnest. He claims on “I Wanna Be Ignored” that he wants to “listen to the music and not worry what the lyrics mean”. But it’s clear on Banging Down the Doors that he puts thought into his own. Songs like “Mother’s Day” and “How Long Diana?” tell stories of people frustrated and alone, and Furman demands with every plaintiff chorus for things to change for the better, and soon. Other songs like “God is a Middle-Aged Woman” and “I Dreamed of Moses” (a song in which Moses gives Ezra cornrows) don’t work quite as well, but still showcase Furman’s burgeoning talent for extended metaphors and left-field narratives. The album may run on a bit long, and Furman may only sing one way—with all he’s got—and perhaps he’s a little too aware of, and impressed with, his ability to filter Dylan’s extended narratives through sweaty indie rock. But most of the flaws on this record are ones of youth, and clearly Ezra Furman spends much of the record proving he’s got the goods. Maybe on future releases, his Dylan and Neil Young impressions will soften and he’ll emerge from his Artist as a Young Man years to become one of the finer songwriters going. He’s got the chops for it.

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Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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