It's basically more of the same pop stickiness.Captured Tracks, 2016
8.2 / 10
In my review of EZTV’s first album, Calling Out, for this site, I wasn’t quite raving about the band. As more time passed, however, the incredibly sturdy songwriting stuck with me more and more, and I still play the album quite a bit these days. Knowing that, I went into their very quick follow-up, High In Place, with patient ears, knowing that whatever magic lay inside would slowly reveal itself. And there seems to be just a little more magic on this sophomore album.
One of the most noticeable differences is the establishing of a singular mood throughout the record. Calling Out seemed to focus more on being immediate and catchy, whereas High In Place shows a band that’s a little more confident, perhaps more content. A song like “States of Confusion” is perfectly happy to spread out to almost 5 minutes, a lifetime in the punchy power-pop of EZTV. The addition of new timbres and textures, such as the growling guitar on “Reason to Run”, or the loping, distant percussion of “Clear”, push the slight aesthetic difference further. It’s more of the (still pretty great) same, but with minor changes, like the Strokes from their hype-infused debut and its largely maligned follow-up.
Frontman Ezra Tenenbaum is also key to the album’s success. His songwriting, always natural, has somehow become even more organic, capturing an initial sensation and chasing it down the rabbit hole–always melodic, always tight. He’s not afraid to let his usually shy voice soar now, either. Like Elliott Smith, Tenenbaum is prone to writing triumphant bridges within bridges, following the melody wherever it leads. Drummer Michael Stasiak, with his commitment to linear fills and effective tempo changes, helps a lot in just the fucking catchiness of it all.The songs stand right up there with their influences at this point, from the sunshine pop of “Goodbye Morning” or the Ray Davies-phrasing on “Hammock”. It’s basically more of the same, but the band can churn it out as long as they want — I’m buying it.