Calling Out

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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares

As proven by decades' worth of jangly guitar pop, there's a fine line between classic and derivative -- or worse, boring. On their debut album Calling Out, EZTV stay on the right side of that line as they build on a power pop lineage that includes Big Star, Cleaners from Venus, Shoes, and especially Emitt Rhodes. Like Rhodes, EZTV write songs that ease into listeners' ears rather than demanding their attention; it takes a little while for just how good Calling Out's tracks are to sink in, but when they do, they cast a bittersweet spell. The contrast between Ezra Tenenbaum's unassuming, almost offhanded delivery and the addictive hooks on songs like "The Light" ends up being a big part of EZTV's charm (another song title, "Soft Tension," captures the band's modus operandi perfectly). Their hazy sound suits the poignant uncertainty of Calling Out's subject matter: shifting relationships, fleeting happiness, and lingering melancholy flow into each other with watercolor delicacy and lightness on subtle stunners like "Hard to Believe" and "There Goes My Girl," both of which would sound obvious and flat in the hands of a showier band. Tenenbaum and company take such an understated approach that they even bury some of their best songs toward the end of the album. The former single "Dust in the Sky," "Blue Buzz," and "Trampoline" all showcase the tight songwriting and eloquent guitar solos that add to EZTV's timeless feel; working with Woods' Jarvis Taveniere, who can make any band sound like a vintage act, as producer was an inspired move. Low on drama but high on seemingly effortless jangle pop brilliance, Calling Out feels like a long-lost classic and an exciting discovery.

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