Ezra Furman : Transangelic Exodus

Out of a wasteland of ironic gimmickry comes Ezra Furman’s Transangelic Exodus: an inventive and authentically strange album that should put even jaded listeners on the back foot. Put to vinyl by an Orthodox Jew who pairs lipstick with stubble, Exodus is similarly resistant to easy definition.
Thankfully less cute than 2016’s Big Fugitive Life, Exodus navigates a quasi-autobiographical landscape – the adolescent narrator of ‘Maraschino-Red Dress $8.99 at Goodwill’ skips temple to experiment with cross-dressing – from one angst-plagued misadventure to another. Furman’s plaintive keening, reinforced by over-modulated, clanging percussion and sublimely artificial synth choirs, weaves a mood of wounded sensuality.
Furman’s sound offers many pleasures for those not immediately turned off by its jarring, faintly experimental sound. ‘Suck the Blood From My Wound’ features a catchy hook redolent of ‘80s power ballads, and ‘I Lost My Innocence’ sounds like the Beach Boys played on an iPod that was put in the microwave for a few seconds. Exodus’ iffier tracks, like ‘Peel My Orange Every Morning’, at least have the virtue of being over- rather than under-ambitious.
Exodus is an album that hedges no bets and offers hours of the absorption to the listener prepared for a little bafflement.