EZLA - Outcasts (2017)

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/ezlaofficial/
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ezlaofficial/
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/ezlaofficial

Written by Mike Yoder, posted by blog admin

Outcasts is the first official release from Los Angeles born and Tennessee settled electro/indie/trip-hop visionary EZLA. Although the genre is always rife and teeming with new releases and artists, much of the new blood sounds good while being played but quickly slips from memory thereafter. On EZLA’s debut the singer/songwriter/programmer carves out 5 impactful cuts that provide a sonic display for her crafty musical arrangements, soulful but melancholic singing and heightened mixing/production senses. While the tempos maintain a commanding mid-pacing, the beauty is in the many of threads of fabric that weave the aural tapestries together.  

First single “Outcasts” favors a crumbling, disassembled beat and drippy, melty keyboard strands that ooze into a muscular, low frequency vibration that rises into a skyward ascension for the uplifting chorus. Lyrically speaking, this is a paean to the crowds that enjoy the nightlife and fancy their identities as being labeled rebels against the daylight and the “square” life in general.  It’s a tried and true theme but EZLA’s poetic phrases and the synth-enhanced musical swing cement the tune far above the genre norm. There’s an authenticity and originality on hand that makes the song stand-up on repeat listens. 

“Skeletons” embraces a seamless continuity where the tempo of the prior track seeps into this one with sharp, nearly staccato vocal swoops forcefully propel the material through its contemplative quiet moments into a bombastic chorus rippling with aggressive keyboards and pounding beats. The groove would fit in well at a rave where manic strobes, spinning glowsticks, clouds of cigarette smoke, overfilled drinks and a girl named “Molly” bustling in the air around you.  

Potent lyrical lust reflected in lines like “breathe you in, don’t you know that you’re my favorite sin, you make me come alive, fixated on the high” and a looping, cavernous “whoomp” beat encapsulates the laidback percussion programming of “Satellites.” A love song at heart, a charming chorus steeped in dub/trip-hop elation gives the tune a positive thrust that’s scenically navigated by EZLA’s gripping, breathy vocal serenity. Soft dabs of acoustic guitar and increasingly intricate cymbal programming firmly cements the songstress’ divine ear for percussive programming. EZLA illustrates a similar, R & B vocal grit to Milla Jovovich on the starlit swagger of “Hangman.” Despite the upbeat nature of this composition, the lyrics ruminate on violent relationships with apocalypse, the death of the sun and the hangman coming used as metaphors to create the symbolism of love gone beyond the point of sour. The utterly disturbed “Psycho Killers” rounds out the album with ugly 80s industrialism and the romantic modern trip-hop of Hooverphonic. I wouldn’t be surprised to find albums by Front 242, Frontline Assembly and Skinny Puppy in EZLA’s record collection. 

Overall, if you want to hear an entirely fresh and adult take on techno, industrial, electronica, trip-hop and dark indie-pop then the Outcasts EP is a must have for your collection. Though released but a few months ago over the summer, this record has already left me salivating for the next installment. EZLA is a real deal and a true diamond in the rough discovery for worshippers of this obtuse style.