Ezra Bell: The best indie folk band you’ve never heard of
The first time I heard Ezra Bell was completely by chance. I was going through my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist, a colorful mix of indie folk, chamber pop, math rock and experimental hip-hop when a song called “Dear Old Dad” came on. I was immediately struck by the beautiful melancholy tones of the song. The strings, piano, horn and vocals came together in an eerie and stunning way to create a unique sound that has stuck with me ever since.
“Dear Old Dad” is from Ezra Bell’s first EP, “Don’t All Look Up At Once.” The EP is only 16 minutes long but packed to the brim with great music. “Don’t All Look Up At Once” was the perfect length to put on for my morning walks to class last semester, and I would listen to it daily—if not more often—on occasion. In its six tracks, “Don’t All Look Up All At Once” paints a picture of loss and hardship while still making beautiful music. The EP is passionate, soulful and striking as well as one of my favorite albums over a year after I first heard it.
Since “Don’t All Look Up At Once,” the band has undergone a series of changes to its members and style, but at its core the sound and feel of the band is the same. Ezra Bell released a second EP, “we came by canoe,” in 2015 and a third, “Farewell Griffin,” in 2016 with the current iteration of the group. In addition to their three EPs, Ezra Bell is currently working on a full-length album which is planned for release early next year.
Benjamin Wuamett is one of the only constants between all of Ezra Bell’s many forms. Wuamett, the front man and vocalist of the band, has lent his unique voice to all of the group’s songs. Wuamett’s voice carries a slight twang and adds another special sound to Ezra Bell’s already unique music. Wuamett sings with an intense passion that complements the instrumentation of Ezra Bell’s songs perfectly.
“Farewell Griffin,” although different in many ways from the previous Ezra Bell projects, fits well into the style that the group has created for itself. The EP, like Ezra Bell’s previous works, has themes of sadness and loss while certain songs have more upbeat tones and create a facade of joy over the darker elements. That being said, Ezra Bell is not a depressing band, while some songs are quite dark, it is a beautiful darkness that weaves itself into the band’s music.
Ezra Bell, with its uncommon, beautiful sound, has established itself as one of my favorite indie-folk acts. The three EPs released by the band are all short enough to put on while casually walking or waiting for something, and their upcoming album should increase their selection of music. Ezra Bell is definitely a band to check out if you like or want to explore more indie-folk music.