Before the Robots

Better Than Ezra

Better Than Ezra’s latest release, Before the Robots, thankfully puts the “better” back in Ezra—the Louisiana State college dorm band that made it big in the mid-1990s. Elektra dumped the band after two disappointing albums (and dogs they were). But this Artemis Records release brings back the band’s party-like, punk-pop corps, with all their catchy riffs and clever lyrics. Cuts “Burned,” “A Lifetime,” and “It’s Only Natural” can all be grouped into the haunting riff category, while “American Dream” reminds us how vulnerable we are to America’s modern working environs: “He planned to early retire/ His CEO, he stole a billion dollars/ Now he’s working at Denny’s/ Hoping for a raise.” A big plus; vocalist and heart of the band Kevin Griffin croons with a daring, range and rage not seen since the band’s debut, Deluxe (1993). Support your Louisiana bands, in the wake of Katrina, they need it now more than ever.