In the music industry’s eyes, a band can originate from two broad areas of America — the East Coast or the West Coast, and preferably within close proximity to a large city. The mass of land between these two areas, with the exception of some cities as Chicago and Detroit, is void of any musical talent. To music executives, that’s just the home of cornfields and cows, and that’s it. And Ester Drang, the Tulsa, Okla.-based rock band, is just another band from the void that proves that too many music execs are off point.
Ester Drang embraces the melancholy tones of the so-called “avant rock” genre, but with a hopeful, introspective tone instead of the common mopey whine of suburban kids. “No One Could Ever Take Your Face” laments, “Whatever you do, let it get to you, tomorrow’s a new day, let it get in your way, everything you do becomes a part of you.”
The album sounds like one extended track but not because it drags. Every instrument, from slow-rock guitars to electronic beats of synthesizers, blend together so well that the transition between songs is unnoticeable. Another highly redeeming quality of Ester Drang is the lack of ego, especially on the part of singer Bryce Chambers. Chambers’ soft, wispy voice loses itself in the assortment of guitars, bass and piano, allowing each instrument to overpower the vocals at times while they build up to their own emotional climax. Chambers brings his voice to the front at times, but lets it lay low for the majority of the record, demonstrating a rare modesty.
Ester Drang has the achieved the difficult task of inflecting classical sounds with synthesized beats to create a modern brand of classic. Infinite Keys retains the ethereal feel of their first full length, Goldenwest, put out on Burnt Toast in 2002. But their latest effort has a coherent connection that gives the music universal appeal, able to relate to the reality of a quiet farm life in Indiana as well as to the reality of the unforgiving concrete of New York City.