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Ezra Furman & the Harpoons: “Penetrate”

By no means does Ezra Furman have a default vocal setting. One minute he’s awesomely and (sometimes) obnoxiously yelping heartfelt and (sometimes) out of key notes and the next he’s beautifully delivering Dylan-esque folk ballads. But never have I heard Ezra Furman whisper.

He and his Harpoons released a single for their song,  “Doomed Love Affair” today. The b-side to that single, “Penetrate” is a simple little folk song that shows what the man is capable with out his harpoons. What may be keeping that voice of Ezra’s caged on “Penetrate” is the cold he had when the song was recorded, but it feels more intentional. As I listened, I felt as though I were a guest in Ezra’s childhood bedroom as he shows me a new song he’d recently written. He’s careful not to wake his parents with endless sexual allusions, so he whispers the words. I was reminded of those days in college when I’d have what I thought to be a winner of a melody or song idea and I’d have to quietly record a demo so my roomate couldn’t hear me. After all, he was a metal-head and would laugh at me and my wimpy acoustic guitar.

What’s so good about “Penetrate” is just how intimate it is. Ezra’s no stranger to intimate either, writing over 100 custom songs to purchasers of his bootleg album back in 2009. Dylan had his basement tapes and bootleg series, and Ezra Furman has his wonderful bedroom recordings.

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