SINGLE REVIEW, ‘JOHNNY LAW’
Ezra Tide is a rock band from Perth, Western Australia. Forming in 2018, the band, which is Nick Gray (vocals/rhythm guitar), Jace Daniel (drums), Kai Williamson (lead guitar), and Finn Pearson (bass/backing vocals), released their debut track Bad Thoughts in 2019 and a second single Take Me Home in 2020. After some time consolidating their presence on the Perth live scene, the band has just released their new single, ‘Johnny Law’.
This is bleakness served as sweetness, and an effective method of supplying fulfilling musical art.
A straight-time guitar riff initiates us into the world of Ezra Tide, and more specifically, the protagonist of this nebulous narrative, as well as a colluding series of rock tropes that sound remarkably singular and sincere. An unvarnished sound that deploys a guitar, bass and drums infantry to support a modestly stirring lead vocal is one of the keys to this new band’s efficacy; strident performances and a casual earnestness are some others. And a few segments which reveal an ability to create succinct and satisfying melodic lines and passages, most particularly on this track, as they relate to the verses.
There is a memorable arrangement of notes at the tail end, that together with the dire predicament of our narrator, create a welcome juxtaposition of contrivances. This is bleakness served as sweetness, and an effective method of supplying fulfilling musical art. When the first two chorus sections of Johnny Law arrive, we are dealt a surprising hand; the feel shifts, slyly, allowing for a more subtle version of a ‘cracker’ chorus than the one we perhaps expected. This surprise, however, is a welcome variant too. The chorus is shed of any overblown gestures that might threaten to undermine the clear, raw, and sanely simplistic rock vista presented thus far. A certain sense of affectation is reserved until the end chorus, when the feel is unleashed, so to speak, to allow for a fitting conclusion to what had been a restrained performance.
And restraint is not the dirty word one might think it is when it comes to rock. Think AC/DC; despite the exterior, their oeuvre is one built on such restraint; loud, concrete restrictive shades, measured menace. ‘Johnny Law’ is not necessarily menacing, despite its subject matter, but it delivers the message that no doubt Ezra Tide wants delivered.
Ezra Tide launch ‘Johnny Law’ at Mojo’s Bar on 21 November. Event details here.