Rollicking through the air seemingly in slow-motion in “Tracii’s Ballad,” gliding into overdriven sonic ribbonry in “South of Yesterday,” the beats often cultivate the emotional foundation of the music in Izzie’s Caravan’s Zephyrs even more than lyrics do. In this sophomore effort from the blues-rockers, Izzie’s Caravan get cerebral with their songwriting and apply psychedelic elements to an already proven formula for blues bombast. The combination of influences certainly isn’t a new one, but instead of producing something that sounds like a contemporary Cream, the band develops an entirely modern, indie style all their own here. They aren’t letting anything come between their audience and the ambitions they seek to share with them, and their determination yields an unmissable listen for sure in Zephyrs.
I really dig the contrast between the minimalist bassline and the grandiose vocal harmonies in the title track of this record. Similarly to “Holy in Your Smile,” this song has a subtle swing that we slowly but surely get lost in over the course of its seven minute running time. It might take a couple of listens to appreciate the excess masked by the brittle melody at the center of the master mix here, but trust me, when you do, it becomes one of the most playable songs on the whole of the EP. Zephyrs has a way of being abrasively provocative without ever stepping outside of a conservatively-fashioned box, and that’s a difficult balance for any artist or act to strike (let alone an underground unit like this one).
The production quality here is really strong from start to finish, but there’s nothing in the tracklist that I would call over the top or unnecessarily indulgent. There’s a looser feel to the compositional style of this EP than there was to Leo’s Guitar, but the DIY ethics that helped to form the basis for the last record we heard from Izzie’s Caravan haven’t changed at all. On the contrary, I think the band is letting their hair down a little more in this instance than they were in their first go-round in the studio. They seem completely at ease with the model they’re trying to hammer out, and while I think a combination of Zephyrs and Leo’s Guitar would have made for an even better album than these two records are separately, they each show us the multidimensionality of a truly skilled group regardless.
Fans of eclectic, guitar-powered rock music with a blues legacy in its bones should definitely get to their local record store and pick up a copy of Zephyrs as soon as possible this spring. Released just a couple of months ago to much of the same response as its predecessor, this latest studio work from Izzie’s Caravan confirms what most of us already believed to be true of their artistry. They’re built Ford-tough without debate, and with another EP slated to debut before the year is out, it’s clear that their commitment to constantly evolving their music is as solid as any of the material on this record is.