With little fanfare, the Broken Arrow-based Ester Drang has become one of the little-known gems of indie rock. The quartet has toured with Pedro The Lion and Rosie Thomas and served as the backing band for current alt-darling Sufjan Stevens—not bad for a group of boys from the 918 area code. Punctuating psychedelic shoegazing reveries with squalls of ethereal electronica, Ester Drang has fashioned an immersive third full-length album in Rocinate (a shout-out to Don Quixote’s faithful steed). Obvious parallels could be traced to some other experimental Oklahoma sons—the Flaming Lips or Starlight Mints—but Aqueduct’s David Terry, another shit-hot Okie making a name for himself, often feels like a more apt musical touchstone here. Swathed in synths and propelled forward by insistent percussion, the band’s music draws lofty comparisons to both Coldplay and The Arcade Fire in the gushing press materials, but I’d argue Ester Drang shows more genuine soul than either of those acts. The mournful drone of “Come Back Alive” contrasts the relative sunshine of “Valencia’s Dying Dream”—over the course of these 10 songs, vocalist/guitarist Bryce Chambers, drummer James McAlister, and guitarist Jeff Shoop simultaneously provoke thought and uplift the listener in grand fashion. It’s a stirring, determined album that should make Ester Drang less of a well-kept secret and more of an adored favorite.
- Release Date
- January 26, 2006
- Jade Tree
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