Release Date: Jul 10, 2015
Record label: Captured Tracks
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
As proven by decades' worth of jangly guitar pop, there's a fine line between classic and derivative -- or worse, boring. On their debut album Calling Out, EZTV stay on the right side of that line as they build on a power pop lineage that includes Big Star, Cleaners from Venus, Shoes, and especially Emitt Rhodes. Like Rhodes, EZTV write songs that ease into listeners' ears rather than demanding their attention; it takes a little while for just how good Calling Out's tracks are to sink in, but when they do, they cast a bittersweet spell.
There’s nothing modish about releasing a power pop record in 2015, especially one that very faithfully clings to its common attributes and refuses to glance forward. Brooklyn trio EZTV run the risk of getting “called out” for keeping their sound too tidy and inflexible, a rather unfair observation considering much of what we listen to in popular music derives from some form of repurposed art. So instead of wrapping their heads around whether or not they should make their songs sound “cool” or “uncool”, they proudly keep it as square with a carefree attitude.
EZTV's debut record, Calling Out, plays like a summer's day. The entire record gives off a feeling of warmth — the vocals reminiscent of Kinks frontman Ray Davies, the earworm melodies, the way each track breezes its way into the next. In fact, one could flat out compare EZTV to the Kinks; they're just as catchy, but a tad softer (though 1964's "Stop Your Sobbing" would not be out of place on this record).Calling Out has a fairly even mix of songs to bop to ("Pretty Torn Up," "The Light") and songs to relate to ("Hard To Believe," "Everything Is Changing").
Great pop rock is designed for comfort. In its simplicity and accessibility, it can nurture a heart that’s rundown or exhausted. There’s plenty of music for wallowing, but sometimes the big hooks of jangly guitar and sappy lyrics can lift the spirits. That’s the type of music Brooklyn trio EZTV shares on its debut album, Calling Out.
Rich with endlessly ringing guitars and gleaming hooks, this lithe debut is indebted to the gentler side of '70s power pop and '80s underground jangle. In no way does EZTV update—or even comment upon—these forms, but when the command of craft is this good, it's more than enough. (www.facebook.com/EzTVeeee) .
Brooklyn’s EZTV formed when their principal songwriter, singer and guitarist Ezra Tenenbaum needed a bassist and drummer to flesh out some demo recordings he had been making. The trio apparently bonded over a shared love of Teenage Fanclub and Big Star, and it certainly shows. There are a dozen tracks on their début for New York indie Captured Tracks and none veers particularly far outside the lines of that certain kind of breezy, harmonious power-pop.
If there's one thing reviewers dread more than anything else, it's the mediocre, the average, the decent. It's so easy to rave about a piece of musical genius and crap all over something you despise, but writing about the average, that's what really challenges a writer. Therefore, Calling Out, the debut record by EZTV, might just be the ultimate reviewer's nightmare.
You know about the big releases each week, but what about the smaller albums which may have passed underneath your radar? We’ve rounded up five of the best new album releases from this week, from the Titus Andronicus’ five-act epic to the power-pop of EZTV: don’t miss out..