Ezra Furman

Day of the Dog

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Day of the Dog, Ezra Furman's second outing without the Harpoons, picks up right where The Year of No Returning left off, though this time around, the songs and fidelity are sharper, resulting in the fiery, folk-punk provocateur's most engaging collection of material to date. Furman's vintage, Lennon-esque sneer pairs well with the anarchic, sock hop snap of skiffle-kissed ragers like "Tell Them All to Go to Hell" and "I Wanna Destroy Myself," and the addition of saxophone into the mix gives the whole affair a real Modern Lovers-meets-The Rocky Horror Picture Show vibe (add in a little Soft Boys and Violent Femmes and you've got a pretty clear picture as to what Furman's going for). The bluesy, Tom Waits-ian title cut and its Gatling gun-delivered counterpart "Walk on in Darkness" prove that Furman can operate outside of the garage as well, a notion that's furthered by the surprisingly affecting (amidst all of the vitriol) "My Zero," an infectious, four-chord stunner that effortlessly builds from a breezy morning drive into a full-on highway anthem. Furman tackles the usual subjects (sex, drugs, heartache, nihilism, sin, and salvation) with the kind of zeal that many of his contemporaries simply dial in, especially on standout cuts like "And Maybe God Is a Train" and the VU-inspired "Slacker/Adria." In fact, there's not really a bad song to be found on Day of the Dog, as even the less immediate cuts are shot through with enough nervy intensity and poetic, barely concealed contempt to enter the bloodstream and get to work.

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