Smoke Season – ‘Ouroboros’ EP Review

Posted: by Sean Gonzalez

Establishing themselves as a sensory overload of music that wants to be seen, heard and felt is Smoke Season, a duo out of Hollywood, California. Over the short years since being conceived in 2013, the group have made buzz with their vivacious and lively frequencies burning through speakers and infesting in people’s heads. Combining a unique blend of americana and electronic soul, it’s easy to see, feel and hear what makes Smoke Season such an exciting duo and that is nourished into the frameworks of their newest EP, Ouroboros. The EP is out today on multiple music stores, April 15th as a reminder to let music go beyond the currencies of life and embrace a sound that transcends a bit of reality.

Bookended by two instrumental tracks — “Intro” and “Outro” — the EP shines with four graceful tunes that attach themselves to listeners with their hazy psychedelia and powerful compositions.  Lead single, “Loose” has a bounce and charm to it that vocalist Gabrielle Wortman rips through with powerful vocals. There’s no doubt that every ounce of passion from the singer’s vocal box is riding each croon, each belt and every melody line established — really shining in the second verse. Wortman’s ability as a vocalist to shape the melodies and lyrics to fit specific parts helps the songs hit home rather than stay stagnant in their atmospheric umbrella. Jason Rosen builds the musical walls of multi-instrumented songs that have their own funk and life in them, forging the foundation for Wortman to have free reign over how gracious the overarching melody will be. In their own right, Rosen’s songs have their own weight and build to them, evidenced by the groovy, syncopation friendly “Santa Rosa.” Behind the incredible belts of vocal magnificence is a steady pulse of music that escalates into quick crashes of gigantic proportions. 

If there is a song on Ouroboros that possesses pop vibrations in a delicately catchy manner, look no further than “When The Smoke Clears.” Wortman’s vocal lines are charming, riding the wavelengths of the music in their own up and down fashion, climbing over the lyrics and punching them through a dazzling beat and airy atmosphere. As the song reaches it’s climax Wortman’s vocals feel like they are being suffocated behind the whirling and growing synths, but at the peak Wortman delivers home with the most ambitious offering yet. Also, the lyrics about letting out our inner selves while entranced by music really help the song have a higher power, “There is a fire in our eyes, there is a tyrant in our veins, couldn’t stand their thin disguise took our masks off when we sang.” It’s a breathtaking moment on the EP and a highlight of Smoke Season’s unique soundscape.

Ouroboros is an EP that offers plenty of areas for a listener to get lost with, if not entirely in “Emilia,” a soft swell that rides three and a half minutes of mind altering music. Smoke Season have released yet another amazing group of songs into the world, and much like Meg Myers, Doe Paoro and Emma Ruth Rundle there is plenty of layers to each song to be found and uncovered. 

Score: 8/10