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April 9, 2003

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I’ve been a fan of Ester Drang for some time now. My first intro to the band was a live show at an outdoor fest. It was hot, I was sweaty and nasty (having not showered for a few days in the middle of summer will do that do you), but I still drug my self over to the equally smelly tent. From the first notes that rang out, I was transported to a different place entirely. A dream state between white noise and lush scenery.

While they have changed quite a bit since that hot summer day in 97’, the essence of the sound remains. Ester Drang have grown up in more ways than one. Not only have they grown up in years, but they have also matured immensely in their song writing abilities. With Infinite Keys (the bands second full length) these Oklahoma boys have stepped past the realm of shoegazer that they started out in. They have fully traded in the feedback soaked melodies of their first EP (That is When He Turns Us Golden), and have honed the ‘adult’ sound they first attempted on their last full length (Golden West). This is definitely their best work to date.

I know that it’s easiest to describe bands, especially bands people might not be familiar with, by comparing them to other bands. Honestly, I don’t think it’s fair in this case. Everyone will draw the obvious comparisons to Radiohead and Spiritualized, but I don’t think it does the band justice. Those bands have achieved so much in their careers; they have most everyone’s respect and admiration. To place a band’s second full length, and for all intensive purposes the first album most people have heard, up to those standards is a disservice to any band.

If you like lush melodies, and like them to ring through clean instrumentation, this is going to be something that will trip your trigger. There is not much more I can say about it. It’s a well-done album, produced as though they had a million dollar budget, and the songs are the strongest these guys have done yet. Fans of music you can get lost in will need to give Ester Drang an ear. If you like for your music to create intimate settings, and push feeling to the foreground, this might be something to search out. Two words, “Get It!”

Oh, one more thing… if you can listen to “If They Only Knew” and not think it’s one of the best songs released this year… well, I feel sorry for you.