Monday, December 4, 2017

EZLA - Outcasts (2017)


Written by Raymond Burris, posted by blog admin

The power and imagination of EZLA’s debut EP release Outcasts distinguishes her as one of the most promising performers working today. She comes out of this five song collection with a self-possession we normally hear from singer/songwriters much further along in their career rather than such young performers, but there’s no question listening to this song that EZLA entered the studio with a clear idea to what she wanted this release to sound like, what she wanted it to invoke. It conjures a handful of moods that, sometimes, seem far beyond the ken of your typical young singer/songwriter and she makes somewhat difficult textures recognizable to our ears thanks to her consistent use of melody. It’s an approach she’s already managed to parlay into a successful Spotify presence and there’s no doubt this EP release will greatly expand her renown and public profile.

“Outcasts” begins the release with an assertive spirit and more than a nod to commercial considerations. The truly impressive facet of EZLA’s presentation is how she manages to incorporate those commercial considerations into what she does without ever compromising the personal nature of her performances. She envelops tracks with oodles of commitment and this title cut is no exception. It further illuminates her self confidence that she feel embolden to deem this cut the lead single and kick off her first release with its near anthemic thrust. She continues to emphasize her loyalties with the outlaw, the outsider, in the song “Skeletons” and her penchant for dark imagery without reducing the song to a difficult listen. The electronic driven backing never settles for taking an across the board uniform approach and, instead, matches the inventiveness of her vocal. “Satellites” differs some from the EP’s other four songs and has a clearer, less ambiguous mood than the other songs on Outcasts. She does a fantastic job, both through the words and music, of conveying a genuine sense of longing without ever being lurid. This moment gives way to a return back to the EP’s central atmosphere of heavy drama and darkness creeping around the edges, but her artfulness in depicting that remains as even handed as ever.

The final track “Psycho Killers” might have fallen flat if EZLA had put any further heat behind its musical feel and lyrical imagery. EZLA tackles this track with a great deal of relish and obviously enjoys amping up the dramatic potential in her music; this doesn’t have nearly the intimacy of some of the earlier songs, but it’s successful on its own merits. EZLA is working out of Nashville, an intensely competitive musical environment in the worst of times, and rises above the pack on the basis of her debut alone. Outcasts’ five songs show impressive variety and have a percolating energy that’s impossible to resist.

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