EZTV – Calling Out
Rating: Sometimes the best creations happen out of happy accidents, which may be the case for the origin story of EZTV. What started out as the project of Ezra Tenenbaum was only able to come to life via the meeting of other band members Michael Stasiak and Shane O’Connell at an audition to be part of J. Spaceman’s backing band for a Spiritualized tour. Luckily, these gentlemen didn’t make the cut, but kept meeting as a band to flesh out the tracks that Tenenbaum had already made a dent in; enter EZTV’s Calling Out.
Calling Out is a collection of twelve songs that each span about the length of three minutes and provide a piece of the puzzle that the band’s crafted of indie rock, glam rock, and hints of punk rock all packaged neatly for you in the form of nifty pop tracks. There’s a lot of good things going on here in this debut album and a lot of it has to do with the easy-listening style that EZTV spin onto the tracks. “Bury Your Heart,” the first track up for your ears is a testament to this. Tenenbaum greets you with the perhaps stoic proclamation of “You’ve got to bury/ bury your heart now,” in his warm, sun worn vocals. Meanwhile, the instruments on this song take what you’ve heard in regards to breezy pop and thread it with the subtle darkness of glam rock. The electric guitars are twangy and distorted, foiling the sweet sounding vocals. Percussion wise, the drums fill the rest of the sound space with airy lightness and the faint tinkle of tambourine so the track doesn’t float too high, but dips and soars evenly. At first listen the darkness may not be hyper audible, but upon further listening, you can hear the way it creeps in via the guitars.
Another style of track that you’ll find on this album is that which employs pop hooks in the best fashion. “The Light,” does this exceedingly well, and the vocals almost sound jazzy in fashion. Something about this track reminds me of early tracks from Ra Ra Riot, and the band leads you into the catchy chorus with the ease that’s omnipresent through the duration of the record. Later tracks evoke some sort of urgency in pace and tone, but still neither rushed nor harried. Take, “Dust In The Sky” or “Long Way to Go,” as examples of this: the former of these two has a bassline that pulses at the bottom of the mix, but then the guitars still meander in and out of the track. The latter of the two lets the guitars propel the track with speed but then there are percussive clops and those mild lyrics to bring it back to the subtle rock you’ve come to love on the earlier tracks. Subtlety and pure sound are the meat of the album, and with these at the core of the record makes listening to it feel as though you’ve rediscovered a long lost classic favorite.
If you were looking for a record filled with novelty– that is to say, one that gives you something that’s never been done before, then perhaps Calling Out isn’t really for you. Rather, these gentlemen have crafted an album that plays on the genre of indie rock that’s been done a thousand times and make it fresh with the melding of storytelling and bright pop instrumentation. There’s a reason straightforward indie records have been done so much, and here is an example of just why that’s the case; there are still things left to be said, and well said at that.