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Ezra Vancil Releases New Music/Video/EP

Calm murmurs caress poignant melodies in “Wish I Had an Angel.” Crisp guitars collide with a gentle beat to form atmospheric grooves in “Big Time.” The smooth glow of the instrumental harmonies challenges Ezra Vancil for supremacy in “Texas Hills.” From the easy-rolling swagger of “Permission” to the ascending melodic charms of “Bad’r Man,” Vancil’s new extended play We Were Wild comes packing such a profound simplicity that it’s difficult to resist any of its quaint charismas on the spot.


Slipping through the cracks of mainstream attention, this singer/songwriter has been quietly developing one of the sharper compositional wits of any I’ve had the chance to review out of the underground this year, and he’s giving us nothing but his best looks in this latest release. “Big Time” and “Wish I Had an Angel” touch on self-reflections that “Texas Hills” and the title cut would just as soon relate to observations of humankind. There’s a duality to the relationship this artist forms with his audience here that is as personal as it is judgmental, perhaps embodying the spirit of our contemporary politics and social structure better than any other offering out of his scene has.  

Vancil’s vocal is more controlled in “Bad’r Man” and “One Big Heart” than it has been in previous showings, and I don’t get the idea that this is because of experience alone. He’s trying to create a feeling of unguardedness in these tracks, and without using too many of the bells and whistles a recording studio grants him, he’s able to do exactly what he set out to (for the most part, at least).

Grooves are always central to the construction of any given narrative in We Were Wild, but not in the sense that Vancil restricts his vocal output to what a tempo will afford his natural skills. He’s pushing himself and his voice just as hard as he ever has, but with a manner of discipline that was largely missing from his earlier work. There’s no debating whether or not he has a lot to get off of his chest in this tracklist – that much is evident even in cursory listening sessions – but instead, how much he’s going to express via the lyrics versus the backdrop he sets up for every verse.  

There’s no getting around the facts; Ezra Vancil is ready to record a proper entry in the grander scheme of his discography, and after listening to this extended play and last year’s rather compelling output, it’s hard to understand how mainstream affections have avoided his brand thus far.

He’s got such a likable personality in this EP, even when he’s fleshing out some of the more personal statements a singer/songwriter can make from within this context, and without any hesitancy to get in his way, he sounds primed to do just about anything he sets his mind to. We Were Wild is good listening no matter how you break it down, and I think folk music fans around the globe are going to agree on that this April.  

Mindy McCall



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