Arriving just a year after 2018's critically acclaimed dystopian queer outlaw odyssey Transangelic Exodus, Twelve Nudes sees Ezra Furman and his newly minted Band with No Name deliver a savage, amp-melting set that's all teeth. Raw, political, feral, and apoplectic, yet reliably open-hearted, the songs were recorded quickly and with the needle firmly ensconced in the red. Furman pushes his voice to extremes as well, and you can smell the beer sweat and the smoke from his tonsils throughout. The 11-track Twelve Nudes begins in spectacular fashion with the unhinged, melodic punk rager "Calm Down aka I Should Not Be Alone," a just-over-two-minute slab of nervy ear candy that's thick with overdriven bar chords and punchy compressed drums, and punctuated with the leering "woo-woos" of the Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil." Blunt force pit-inducers like "Rated R Crusaders," "Blown," and "My Teeth Hurt" follow suit, drawing inspiration from the socio-political miasma of 2018 and coming off like Green Day taking a stab at Dead Kennedys' Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. It's not all bloody fisticuffs, though. Furman tempers some of that sonic pugilism on the road trip-ready confectionary "In America" and the poignant, gender questioning "I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend," the latter of which divulges "All my friends are writing their résumés/my responsible friends are applying for jobs/but me, I was considering ditching Ezra, and going by Esme." Transangelic Exodus was a meticulously crafted and heavily nuanced work that showcased Furman's pop acumen and lyrical prowess. Even at its most subdued, the relentless and invigorating Twelve Nudes crackles and pops like an alkali metal hitting water.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger