Published Apr 02, 2020This Way to Oblivion, the latest full-length outing from Portland, OR-based folk sextet Ezra Bell, sonically dishes up a healthy portion of neo-eccentricity. Starting with the quirky vocals of frontman Benjamin Wuamett, whose voice sounds like a mixture of Adam Sandler rasp and a bubblegum Bob Dylan, the songs grab you, take hold of you, and refuse to let go.
On This Way to Oblivion, Wuamett's is supported by the delicate and vulnerable vocals of Honora Hildreth, who quite often will mirror the melody line an octave or two higher while other band members provide backing harmonies in predictable places. Multi-instrumentalist Aaron Mattison's horn work shines throughout, and serves as the unsung hero of much of this record.
The rest of the band, comprised of the tasteful keyboard and guitarwork of Jeremy Asay, the steady-handed pulse of stickman Tom Trotter and the inventive bass playing of Maurice Spencer, have drawn comparisons to better-known peers such as the Decemberists, Mumford & Sons, and Of Monsters and Men, rightfully so. On This Way to Oblivion, Ezra Bell present a lush and atmospheric texture that, in many of the tracks, starts soft and swells to a fever pitch underneath Wuamatt's Adam Duritz-esque stream-of-consciousness lyrical pontifications.
At the end of the day, Ezra Bell have woven such an eloquent tapestry of chill vibes that it makes it hard to even pinpoint a standout track because, in truth, every track is worth the listener's undivided attention. (Dutch)