Ezra - Shapes

Year of Release: 1994
Label: Cyclops
Catalog Number: CYCL 017
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

There was a time when Journey, REO Speedwagon, et al, were high on the charts with their mainstream pop rock - the period was 1980-1983. Rush were also popular (I can remember "Tom Sawyer" being played everywhere), and, of course, it was the era of Duran Duran. Listening to this disc, I'm transported back to that time. While Ezra don't sound particularly like Journey or REO Speedwagon, you can find elements of almost any 80's band here, and not just those in the pop rock realm. I hear such diverse artists as Men At Work, Loverboy, Winger, Warrant, etc. all through this album - a passage here, a guitar part there.

Of course, there are progressive influences as well (or bands identified as falling in the progressive realm) - I hear Shadowland here mostly, as vocalist Andy Edwards sounds very much like Clive Nolan. And at times like Damian Wilson (Threshhold, Landmarq) in his less theatrical moments.

So bundle all that up and you have Ezra's Shapes. While it would be pointless to pick the songs apart to "spot the influence," it is interesting to note that the elements of late period Rush (guitar/drum) on "Big World" give way to a guitar/bass groove in the bridge, that, if listened to unknowingly, might be confused for Duran Duran. Again, it's that whole early 80's thing. "Life & Times" starts its first few seconds like Men At Work, before switching to a Shadowland sound, and ending sounding like Styx.

On the last track, "Tea At Cyril's," there are moments where Ezra remind one of Marillion, Edwards sounding a bit like Steve Hogarth. Track 8, "First Light" ends with a very Celtic feel - a bit of a reel.

So anyway, Ezra are a three piece based in Wales, and this appears to be their first release (on CD at least). It isn't a bad debut, but far from being original and while this doesn't bowl me over, it doesn't make me want to shoot the stereo, either. There are some nice moments and with repeated listenings, I'm sure this will grow on me more.

Just A Game (5:00) / Smiled At Me (4:10) / Red Sky (6:53) / Falling (4:04) / Life And Times (6:39) / She Cries (5:56) / Raingods (6:33) / First Light (4:12) / Big World (5:19) / Tea At Cyrils (7:44)

Andy Edwards - vocals, guitar, keyboard programming
Gareth Jones - bass and vocals
Daz Joseph - drums
Rob Reed - keyboard programming, piano
Sue Manley - backing vocals
The Red Hand Band - tambourines
Steve Hughes - bass (1, 2, 8)

Shapes (1994)
Big Smiley Sun (1998)
Songs From Pennsylvania (2005)

Genre: Neo Prog

Origin UK

Added: May 1st 1998
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.ezra.co.uk
Hits: 1542
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]