Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound Engineering by Patrick Stolley
All that thinking, all that, all that brilliance in color and contrast and brightness and blather, the way the indoors can cut your pupils down to the smallest pinprick dots of refusal, letting only so much of the outside blare in. It's at work most days, where anxiety and the overwhelming nature of the bigger picture seem to stun you like an invisible electric fence. One moment, the hands are okay, nestled in pockets or cupping a beverage and the next, without any warning whatsoever, they are a jittery, earthquake-y mess, twitching as if they were a patch of hind quarter cow hide blanketed with unwanted flies and flying things.
You lose it occasionally, or frequently, having succumbed to the heaviness of hidden agendas, the general sense of chaotic free will that is always a sticky brand and a powerful leeching and tugging pressure from unknown sources, around the clock that never seems to diminish, no matter how self-medicated or lubricated you choose to get yourself. Some might call it the stuff that makes you know you're not dead, this nervous and scary energy. They thrive on stress and making the hectic work for them, making the unseen passages of "this is just the way it is and this is just the way it has to be, get over it" moments into molehills and not the mountains that would then simply NEED to be fretted and agonized over until all light had tumbled from the sky and all dark had done the deed of getting us drunk enough to not care about the scariness all that terrible much. Ezra Furman and his faithful Harpoons are poets, first and foremost, but that doesn't preclude them from painting the panting and riveting nods to these anxieties that send your blood pressure up into the no-fly zone and get you riled up about the inconsistencies that we're forced to deal with. Furman, with a voice that is nasally and yet knowing and strong, squares off with all of the rigors that come from man justifiably considering himself a speck and a spectacle, smaller than the blockbuster descriptions that he prefers as a reference. There is groping that occurs from many sides, people just being people, but giving themselves over to looking out for No. 1 and dismissing the rest of the numbers - the crowds and even those closest, in the sanctity of the circle.
Furman rips open a part of himself that just has no choice but to cause flooding, downpours and hence, the most sincere form of sincerity. His songs are his way of saying, "I have something, actually, many related sentences and tangents that I need to get off of my chest." And later, he stands there catching his breath again, feeling sounder and ready to move on to another thoughtful, articulate and eccentric tirade. The pace is typically brisk and bouncy and sloppy - the words stream of consciousness thrown through revisions and confirmations - and it holds all of your attention in more ways than you'd like to think it would. Inside the words that Furman writes are some of the most spot-on insights into what it means to be one of the millions - as a regular chap and as rock and roll singer. He gets that being both is difficult, being either is difficult. He finds his voice on fire in "Modern Times" and then he actually coats his throat with lighter fluid - a stiff and steady stream of the liquid - and does it. He scratches a match and then flicks it toward his teeth like a toothpick. "Take Off Your Sunglasses" is the most poignant song about love and all of the timeless troubles and difficulties that the sport of it - the game of holding it up as bright and healthy as when it started - that's been written lately. He sings about a girl saying that she loves the boy and Furman has this piece of revelation, "She called me up/She said I love you in the middle of the night/I said everybody loves everybody else these days/She said oh in the middle of the day I love you very much/And I said everybody loves each other these days." And this is the reason for trepidation and where all those shaky, scary hands get their cue - surrounded by the wolves, lions, weasels and vultures in sheep's clothing.
Ezra Furman & The Harpoons Official Site