Emotive lyrics, innovative melodies and glossy production are staples of Smoothboi Ezra’s delicate bedroom pop. To have such a distinct sound at the age of 19 is rare and hasn’t gone unnoticed; with the Greystones-raised teen garnering praise from the likes of BBC Radio 1, The Irish Times and NME. Their 2018 single ‘A Shitty Gay Song About You’ has amassed nearly 6.5 million streams on Spotify — another great success for a completely independent artist.
‘Stuck’: is a bittersweet ode to the impending expiration of a relationship, and the title track of the EP. Opening with this is a throw into the deep end of the highly-anticipated and impassioned collection of tunes, all centered around Ezra’s experiences of relationships as a non-binary person on the autism spectrum.
After ‘Stuck’’s tender musings, ‘Without Me’ introduces an initially darker tone. A steady beat sits under a beachy guitar line, before Ezra’s famed gentle vocals sweep in. Staying on the heartbreak-theme, they reflect on a former flame with hard-hitting lyrics like ‘I don’t want you to be happy without me’ in a heart-wrenching tale of love and loss. There are some ugly feelings laid out here in a beautiful way — relatable but topics often avoided by mainstream love songs.
‘You’ is a soft study in Ezra’s encounters of love, with its lofi, clunky guitar providing the perfect setting for their soft vocals to articulate their experiences. “My autism makes it hard for me to remember how I feel about people when they’re not right in front of me,” they say. With harmonies in just the right places to elevate the most affecting moments, it’s a beautiful track.
Folky strumming meets conflicting lyricism in the closing track, ‘Palm Of Your Hand’. In places it carries some spite, but is neatly contrasted by playful quips we’ve come to love in Ezra’s writing. They’re unafraid to share a whole scope of feelings; sometimes gritty, sometimes sweet, but all wrapped in a charming songwriting effort.