Ezra Holbrook

Save Yourself

Self-released 2011

Portland's Ezra Holbrook is an artist who when it comes to his music wears his emotions on his sleeve.  His new album, Save Yourself is a heart tugging journey through pain and regret and wee bit of hope.  Delicate acoustic guitar and a laid-back mood treats us as the nighttime notes of the title-track drifts in like whispered longing, sweetly in our ears.  Ezra's vocals are smooth, with a subtle hint of smokiness to them.  Another Light In the Distance is toned with a yearning chorus and alternative guitar passages that dance with pop sensibilities.  The whimsical sax at the song's inner core is delightfully playful.  The songwriting really soars on Heart Off Your Sleeve.  It's as if a countryfied Evan Dando inserted one of his characteristic melodies and catchy vocal lines into an acoustic framework.  The female layered vocals would have had more impact though if higher in the mix but the overall intensity of the teary-eyed emotions still permeate the song.  A serene folk feeling awakes slowly on the slide guitar riddled Architect/Archetype.  A pleading yet world-weary sorrow flows out of the dual vocals on the track's chorus.  My heart borders on being crushed under the weight of unrequited longing.  Do People Bloom feels like a less forced, and a little more stripped down Dave Matthew's Band track.  The smooth vocals and the plodding folk guitar on The Wrong, Wrong Eyes has tones of Simon and Garfunkel at their most solemn and peaceful moments.  Ezra Holbrook has constructed an album that breathes sincere emotion and exhales a fragility that touches the listener down deep.  Save Yourself is like a soft middle-ground between Dave Matthews and The Lemonheads burgeoning alternative leanings saddling up to acoustic pop sensibilities.