The Place is a short five song EP debut from Cozi and Flounder. The collection is an outgrowth of Ezra and his daughter Cozi Vancil’s collaboration on the former’s songwriting showcase The Family Songbook, to be sure, but other factors shaped its writing and recording. His young daughter’s increasing desire to follow her father into the music world challenged Ezra Vancil, but he eventually accepted the inevitable. His decision to work closely with her, writing and developing The Place’s songs each step of the way, is one of the biggest reasons why this EP is so successful.
“No One Can Take Away” opens The Place with great promise. The twosome utilizes a band on each of the EP’s songs, save the acoustic final track, and it’s a wise move. A song such as this gains immeasurably from the extra gravity added musicians provide especially when they are so tuned in with the duo’s creative direction. The percussion, for instance, couldn’t possibly be more appropriate.
Their sparkling vocal exchanges are alone worth the price of purchase. They are fine throughout the opener but truly take flight with The Place’s second song. “Misty Girl” echoes the same dreamlike atmospherics heard during the first number, but Cozi and Flounder don’t emphasize them quite as strongly here. The musical presence, particularly the guitar, they achieve for this track is much more pronounced than “No One Can Take That Away”.
“Tiny Boat” has a distinctly different mood than the other songs. This is the duo operating in much more traditional folky territory, but don’t mistake that for a cookie-cutter take., “Tiny Boat” excels thanks to many of the same merits heard in the EP’s other songs and its near-jaunty bounce propels it even higher. “Some Angels” recalls the band’s country influences while never venturing away from the core sound established in the earlier efforts. Cozi really goes to another level here; the confidence and command she brings to bear from her first line through the last isn’t just a testament to her gifts, but her father’s stewardship of those skills.
ORDER EP: coziandaflounder.bandcamp.com/
Cozi and Flounder return to more lyrical ground for the EP’s closer. “The Place” It has a lush and inviting demeanor that brings the release to a gradual rather abrupt end and, once again, shows their penchant for tunes that evolve rather than showing all their cards at once. The steady percussive pulse running beneath the guitars is never obtrusive but absolutely indispensable. Cozi and Flounder return a last time with an acoustic re-envisioning of “No One Can Take Away” and the pair take it in a bluesy direction. The prominent harmonica, however, deserves its position in the mix and works well with song’s introspective point of view. The Place may fly under the radar; it’s beauty wrought on a small-scale. Cozi and Flounder have, nonetheless, written and recorded one of the year’s finest releases, an all-too-short interlude from life’s ongoing storms. Let’s hope they return soon with an even longer release.