It has been such a long time since I’ve heard a release of a double album, especially in the realm of rock…that’s why it was such a pleasure when I heard about The Eargoggle’s latest album, “The Eargoggle Regales, The Eargoggle Revels”.
The Eargoggle is the lovechild of New York based multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and producer Ezra Gale…..that’s a mouthful.
Ezra embarked on a very unique premise for his double album…creating a comic book portraying every song…that’s the twist…but hey, there’s another twist!
He reached out to artists from around the world to join forces with his unique idea and illustrate each and every song, with its own artwork, featuring artists from all over the world (including Argentinians Luis Santamarina and Alfredo Retamar, Moroccan Zi Hounti, Italian Flame Ghost, the UK’s Fiona Oakley, American Patrick Lugo and many others).
The result of this global collaboration is 56 pages of artwork goodness!
Such a unique premise!
Not just that, but Ezra also collaborated with musicians to feature in his double album, musicians that have played with AAA artists like Taylor Swift, Ruben Blades, Matisyahu, Moby, Antibalas and many more…
All of these elements interweaved together resulted in Ezra’s latest album “The Eargoggle Regales, The Eargoggle Revels”…
So let’s jump into this multi-dimensional piece of art and revel in it!
Here we go…
We start our journey with the first track “The Garden”…
A very appropriate way to start.
Steady beat and a catchy rock riff drive the energy of this song…and the vocals sound very trippy!
The song has some very nice sounding chord changes, especially during the bridge, which is a very welcome change of mood in the middle of the song.
…we got a complete mood shift with the next song “For Too Long”…
The track starts with just an acoustic guitar playing, showing us the chord progression…
…which is a very catchy chord progression and an awesome vocal melody.
The track has a more indie feel to it.
“For Too Long” is more on the emotional side with a bit of melancholy.
The next song is “Killer”…and it is such a trippy journey in its own rights…
Starts with a very fuzzy electric guitar riff, heavy, then suddenly takes you in a more pop-rock sounding verse with 70s sitar sound and mood…
…and it keeps shifting between the 70s sitar-pop-rock-funk and heavy-fuzz-dirty rock sounds…
“One Mark” is the next track in our journey…
A completely different sound from what was before…however, there is a link that I’m starting to notice…the fuzz-sounding electric guitar along with the trippy chorus-sounding vocals are becoming a staple in the album, or at least so far.
This one has a more experimental, avant-garde vibe to it!
…especially the bridge…think, floating in the cosmos.
The next song “Before Times” is more grounded in indie-pop-rock roots.
Vocals are more straightforward this time around, no trippy effects this time around, which changes things up a little.
But…as with the rest of the album, there is a bit of experimentation in several places in the song, a bridge with a jazz swing to it, then unto a heavy rock riff, then back to the original mood…then…you gotta hear it for yourself, it changes mood a couple of times.
Reminded me a little bit of 12 Foot Ninja’s “One Hand Killing”
What does “Crocus” mean? Because that is the name of the next song!
Let me google it…ah, ok…looks like it’s a flower that bears relatively large white, yellow, orange or purple flowers and then becomes dormant after flowering.
This song has a bit of funk-inspired guitars, but within a pop-rock-feeling song.
…the experimental side in this song has more to do with the vocal layers, each song I get surprised with how many unique elements there are thrown in the mix…
“Break Your Bones”, the next track, is a very contrasting mix of strong lyrics and smooth female vocal voice.
This contrast will make your mind go in circles for some time.
…more mellow this time around, more downbeat…and I believe this is also a good gateway to the next track, which is in a completely different mood from all that came before.
The next track starts out with a pure upright-bass-jazz intro, along with vocals.
..bit by bit the song goes out of orbit, and into an uncharted musical territory, from a musical, vocal, effects and structure point of view…did I tell you the song name? No?
It’s called “Tiny Island”…and it is exactly a tiny island, completely secluded from the whole world…even the whole galaxy.
“Living For You”, our next song, starts out with completely distorted sounding drums…
It is an indie song with all the glory that comes with this description.
Vocal layers are pretty special in this song.
The chord progression is a bit experimental, sometimes going into dark places, with a downbeat tempo…it is more of a “when you feel down” kind of song.
Only at the very end of the song does the drums not sound distorted anymore.
From hearing all of these experimental approaches, I am sure that this little move has a meaning behind it, I think, it is the clarity that the writer finds…or maybe that’s just me.
“Story Song” starts out very similar to “Tiny Island”, starting out with just an upright bass and a vocal line…but it is more musical this time around, not that experimental…yet!
Around the middle of the song, we are greeted with a shift in mood when distorted drums come into play, steady and surely it drives the energy of the song…with a very interesting choice of instruments in the background, flute sounding instruments or synths.
We are greeted also with a most welcome organ solo, very melodic.
The next song “Breathe With The Earth And Stones” is by far the most upbeat song of the album.
Four on the floor drum beats, upbeat tempo, funky guitars, soaring vocals, groovy bass lines, percussion fills.
I would say that this is a very accessible point in the album for anyone who is not huge on experimental approaches.
It has the essence of awesome 80s and 90s pop songs like Kaoma’s “Lambada”.
“Breathe With The Earth And Stones” has some points where it stops, a percussion plays something, then everything plays once again with full power…these are awesome!
“Smash” is the next song and it has more of an ethnic approach to it…african beats and riffs.
African beats are like magical dance spells…you can’t help but to start moving and dancing!
Yes, it is on the experimental side, but with a groove to it.
The next song is called “Darling, I”…and it starts out in space!
Very spacey ambient approach…then adding a drum beat that will make you start moving your feet…bit by bit.
Vocals then enter this space themed mood, trippy, experimental and a bit dark.
…you can see glimpses of Radiohead this time around.
The song has an extended ambient-spacey outro and has a more sound design side to it.
“Leave No Trace”, our next track is more upbeat, more edgy and more spacey.
This song has a very moving drum beat with mellow double vocals, a male and a female, pierced with synth sounds that cuts in the mix.
The drum beat is absolutely awesome and radiates energy.
The next track is more groovy, funky, with 90s flavored sounds all over the place…it’s called “Soak”
But what gives it its 90s feel to it?
Funky melodic guitars…check
This track’s chorus is very catchy and melodic.
…again, a more accessible track to people who are not big on experimental songs or sounds.
“The Bureau Of Everything” changes things up.
It starts with a sampled voice clip…builds up and jumps into a late 60s and 70s funk territory with organ riffs and guitar licks.
The voice clip plays at different parts of the song.
…the chorus of the song gives out strong Red Hot Chili Peppers vibes, and I am a fan, so…I’m hooked.
With our next track, we reach the end of our journey with this double album…and it is such an artistic goodbye.
“Arambeppe” is basically a poem recited against a background of an experimental yet melodic soundtrack to it.
Yes, exactly, this is it…a poem with its soundtrack.
The song has many sound elements to it from organs to guitars to upright bass to synth sounds…and a bit more.
The Eargoggle’s double album “The Eargoggle Regales, The Eargoggle Revels” is an experimental, free, raw experience that Ezra put all his love and effort into..so we, as audience, can experience something completely different, unique, musical, artistic…and get surprised with it too…no to mention the artwork that goes with it.
Musical boundaries are pushed…pushed far well beyond our normal day to day comprehension even at times, however, taking in the experience of this album is such a refreshing approach.
This is definitely a labor of love from Ezra Gale and we wish him all the best in the world and will be on the lookout for more boundary-pushing art from him.