It’s clear he took a great deal of care with each aspect of the recording and it pays off with deeply satisfying results."—#ColinJordan
Ezra Vancil’s songwriting has elicited fulsome praise from an assortment of outlets and he is long past an apprenticeship spent playing and singing with a variety of indie rock bands. His writing speaks to listeners from an intensely personal space within and often covers topics some may struggle with, but it nevertheless remains accessible despite its apparent autobiographical nature. He continues pursuing that songwriting slant with his latest album The Family Songbook but restrictions about social interaction because of this COVID-19 pandemic fractured Vancil’s recording plans. He put the considerable talents of his young daughter Cozi to use finishing the release in his home studio and, despite the essentially DIY nature of the recording and its fragmented process, it has an impressive sonic scope and has consistent vision.
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You may think that being forced to retreat to working out of his home studio might mar the overall sound of the release, but that isn’t the case with this album. Vancil has an enormous musical imagination that he gives full vent to on The Family Songbook; many of the selections have an almost cinematic verve in the way they rise from low-key beginnings into intensely colorful and visual sonic landscapes. “Big Old House” is the album’s first track and an excellent example of the rising and falling narrative nature of Vancil’s songwriting. His vocal melodies are a staple strength of his work and that holds true for this track as well.