This Chicago native makes his solo debut on Bar/None with The Year Of No Returning; a fine effort that immediately made me smile.  This is a darkly funny album, intended or not.  The lyrics are wry and biting and the structure of the songs tend to offset the themes to successful effect.  If I may make a comparison, Furman delivers these songs as a cross between a pissed-off Freedy Johnston or a charmingly funny Alex Chilton.  But make no mistake – the bile is there; it’s just masked in melody.  “Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” opens the album with an angry, strident strumming acoustic guitar and subtle sleigh bells for percussion; “American Soul” has some of the best, twistedly humorous lyrics I’ve heard in a while (“I’m a Jew through and through and now I’m about to write you a bible…”).  “Sinking Slow” is a disconnected but effectively lush ballad with piano and strings that suddenly snaps into a Beach Boys-like refrain; “That’s When It Hit Me”, the album’s standout made me think of a bluesier Replacements and “Cruel, Cruel World” is downbeat but neat acoustic pop.

If you’re going through a break-up, this is the perfect soundtrack.  Full marks to Ezra Furman for this.



About the Author

Rob Ross

Rob Ross has been, for good, bad or indifferent, involved in the music industry for over 30 years - first as guitarist/singer/songwriter with The Punch Line, then as freelance journalist, producer and manager to working for independent and major record labels. He resides in Staten Island, New York with his wife and cats; he works out a lot, reads voraciously, loves Big Star and his orange Gretsch. Doesn't that make him neat?

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