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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Better than Ezra

Surprise

Review by Gary Hill

This is a special remastered reissue of the first Better than Ezra album. That disc was only available on cassette and has been out of print for years. The seeds of the hit quality music that propelled them to fame is all present here. This is a strong release taken by itself. It’s recognizable as Better than Ezra, too. Their brand of alternative rock was in fine form even with this first set of songs.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Ezra Pound

Americana and cool alternative rock vibes are combined on this song. I love the vocal harmonies as they bring some psychedelia to the table. In a lot of ways this feels like it could have been released in the late 1960s. The mellower, melodic movement later in the track is more of a modern thing, though. This is a classy way to get things started.

CDU
More of a modern sound pervades this one. It’s got some catchy hooks and a lot of energy. I don’t like it as much as I did the opener, but it’s still quite good.
Favorite Blanket
This melodic instrumental is great, but it ends abruptly.    
Tremble
This has “hit” written all over it. It’s a great mid-tempo melodic rocker. This is the kind of thing that got this band attention.  
Winter Coats
A folky, acoustic based number, this is tasty. 
Hold Me Down
More rocking, this is fun stuff. It’s another strong tune on a disc that’s full of strong stuff.      
Rearranging the Bones
Another that’s closer to folk music, this is good. It’s just not really special.
And We're Fine
I love the Americana vibe to this piece. It’s definitely another standout cut.
Circle of Friends
Although there are no major changes here, this cut works pretty well.
Bag of Cobras
This has a lot of energy and some powerful vocal hooks. It’s one of the better pieces here. It’s set in a 1980s alternative rock sound.
Burning the Map
This is another of the more effective pieces. It’s not that they’ve reinvented this. It’s just that it gels extremely well.
Devil Girl
The closing tune is one of the more folk oriented numbers here. It feels a bit like a cross between that 80s alternative rock sound and a 1970s folk rock vibe. There is even some country music in the guitar solo section later. It’s one of the better pieces, really.
 
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