â€œThis is our punk record,â€ says Ezra Furman, introducing their new album Twelve Nudes, yet another incendiary and inspiring classic from the singer / songwriter/ guitarist / bandleader. Immediate proof is offered by Calm Down (aka â€˜I Should Not Be Aloneâ€™), the albumâ€™s insanely catchy opening track and lead single, bound up in a compact two minutes and 22 seconds. Twelve Nudes was mixed by the venerated producer John Congleton (Sharon van Etten, St Vincent, John Grant). Furman says the album has two spiritual heroes â€“ the late great punk rock rocker Jay Reatard, and Canadian poet, philosopher and essayist Anne Carson.
The positivity of negativity flows throughout the album, distinguished by sharp, lacerating observations, confessions and proclamations, with Furman the indefatigable cheerleader. â€œAnd if youâ€™re really at the end of your rope / No you donâ€™t take the night off/ Too many demons to fight offâ€ he wails in Transition From Nowhere To Nowhere. The songâ€™s slower pace and becalmed verses underlines Twelve Nudesâ€™ musical remit - less stereotypical punk than raw, raucous rockâ€™nâ€™roll (as Furman points out, The Ramonesâ€™ punk classicism included songs influenced by Phil Spector ballads). Check also I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend and In America, shaped respectively by Furmanâ€™s love of â€˜50s doo-wop and Springsteen, while Trauma is molten and leaden like Black Sabbath. But in Rated R Crusaders, Thermometer, My Teeth Hurt (surely the first lyrical reference to â€œdental insuranceâ€) and the 58-second Blown, punk rockâ€™s flailing energy is alive and kicking.