In 1954 Baltimore, Ezra Furman is the leader of a gang of “Drapes,” opposing the “Squares” in a musical rivalry for the ages.
Ok, well maybe Ezra Furman is not Cry Baby, nor is he from Baltimore, but if he were, there would be a lot less crying and the Squares would be wetting their pants at the ferocity of his music as he calls upon the Day of The Dog.
Venturing into his latest solo release Furman, formerly with Boston’s Harpoons, draws a definitive line in the sand and calls you out on your musical tastes.
Throughout thirteen tracks Day of The Dog creates a strangely attractive bold record that should not work on many levels but ultimately prevails as a massively good listen. Nearly each strained vocal out of Furman sounds as if his voice is going to fail him at any moment. Mixed with a plethora of horns and rebel rousing instrumentals though, the songs become a personality of punk infused retro rock. Think about punk prevailing in the late 50s and you’d have Day of The Dog. The album leans toward swinging riffs and suicide door/cruising the strip foundation that it becomes much more than meets the eye; so much so, I’d swear the horns take on a life of their own.
All but the last two songs come in at the three minute span or less. Though they are quick listens, there are certainly some gems to take away from the record. “Tell Em All to Go to Hell” comes in at just two minutes thirteen seconds and it drives home a doo-wop, gym-dance vibe that is only a mask to a middle finger to restraint that is the American Bandstand mentality; brilliantly done. That is immediately followed by my favorite track “My Zero,” a song that winds down the tempo just a little while imbedding itself in your addictive side. “Been So Strange” opens itself to a style that no one seems to have the balls to take on in today’s world. It is almost as if The Boss were influenced less by hard working America and more by a slurring dark outlook.
There is a thick sense of doing what he wants with Day of The Dog, but under the surface there are caverns of gutsy plays that pay off big for Ezra Furman. If he was around in the fifties and sixties, I have no doubt we’d be living in a much different musical world today. Even though mainstream would undoubtedly cringe at first listen, it is chances and records such as this that drive the underground. As much as it pains me to acknowledge that Day of The Dog will settle into abstract record bins for collectors to someday take a chance on, because this is one that should soar, this will not be leaving my rotation any time soon.