Better Than Ezra is a band I’ve known about for a long time thanks to their contribution on the Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks album, but the rest of their discography escaped me until I stumbled across All Together Now. That’s just as well, because this is the only album I like. I’ve tried giving their earlier work a try but just can’t get into it. I mean, it’s okay but not nearly as catchy. So for long-time Ezra fans, All Together Now may be too much of a departure. I’ve read reviews that confirmed as much. This is probably Ezra’s attempt at mainstream appeal, since the songs here have an obvious pop influence to them. That pop sound is exactly the kind of catchiness they’ve needed, though.
I’ve had the album in rotation for about two months now and still love it. “Insane” is easily my favorite. It’s crazy and upbeat and full of kooky sounds. There’s an underlying sense of goofiness throughout that maybe comes off a little too strong in other songs like “Dollar Sign.” To be fair, that one’s pretty fun, too, but it can feel a bit cringey at times. Other highlights include “Crazy Lucky,” “Gonna Get Better”, and “Diamond in My Pocket.” The only songs that didn’t resonate with me are “Before You,” which hits like a speed bump compared to the rest of the album’s energy. And “Shut Up and Dance” is an odd note to end on, giving up some of the earlier pop qualities in favor of more alternative rock. Maybe that’s a bone the band decided to throw to their older fans. That’s great if it is. But I’m only a fan because of what we have now.