It was always gonna be darn hard to top their last album, wasn't it? Reviewed by me here, Calling Out showcased the nimble indie-pop chops of EZTV. The new one, High in Place, out on Friday via Captured Tracks, is more of the same, only better in some spots. Read on, kids.
Opener "High Flying Faith" is the best Teenage Fanclub song never written and performed by Teenage Fanclub, while stuff like "Reason to Ruin" and "Racing Country" offer up similarly Big Star-tinged examples of the very best kind of indie-pop on offer in 2016. If "States of Confusion" boasts a hook too close to an Eagles riff for my liking, EZTV win me back with the superb "Hammock", all bright moments from a dozen C86 releases crammed into one fine cut. There's not a huge amount of variety here but EZTV play to their strengths and that's something to be celebrated. If tracks like "Still" do try to offer a darker vibe, then album closer "Goodbye Morning" ups the ante by dealing a spiraling riff that signals an attempt to at least expand upon the band's formula.
If EZTV are not entirely breaking new ground on High in Places they are, at least, setting a new standard in consistency as each of these songs is a textbook example of what indie-pop is capable of being when a premium is placed on the art of songwriting. The band excel at this sort of thing and one can forgive them for not being too adventurous this time out when they have hit their stride with such confidence. The results please and it would be churlish to demand more, frankly.
[Photo: Daniel Topete]