Zephuros- Great White Egret
The Drowned Coast
August 23, 2008
Over the last month or so, I have been trying to settle my opinions of a lone singer/song-writer from Athens, Ohio named Kevin Meyer, known to the music world as Zephuros. He makes no secret of his man-love for Chicago musician Andrew Bird; and I can’t say there isn’t a sort of apprentice quality to Meyer’s newest release, The Drowned Coast. The album unabashedly revolves around the animal kingdom. Every song lauds the bucolic life of feathered critters among or some other doey-eyed tree or sea dwellers. It is as if Zeph imagines his arranged flutes, clarinets, and strings have the ambiance of Peter and the Wolf. He wanted to produce something intrinsically beautiful. The album is segmented by instrumental movements meant to melodically capture the soft pink shades of sunrise, sunset, and all the waking life in between. This grandeur is only reinforced by comparisons from friendly home media.
“By the impression left by his music, Meyer comes off as the type of person who, despite eye-rolling annoyance from certain friends (read: the articles author), would just feel wrong setting up mouse traps or squashing a bug.
Perhaps what feels wrong above all, however, is that The Drowned Coast‘s seemingly simple acoustic songs about animals can, and at some point probably will, bring listeners to tears. The reason for this is simple: Zephuros’ wildlife lyrics reflect more insight into human nature than those of many young singer-songwriters today.”
Hyperbole permeates every letter of the above review—and I love hyperbole. However, this does a severe disservice to Zephuros’ most attractive attributes. Zephuros doesn’t need another review that explains to the C.S. Lewis reading, coffee house egos why they should listen to him.
This record says very little about human nature.
This record will never make me—or any of you—cry.
The lyrics are interesting, ranging from nondescript platitudes to observational non sequiturs. Seeing a snowflake on a leopard’s spine is an image of novelty; it is one among many that work to create a folksy sense of Earth-as-Art. Oceanic emeralds and tender touches from the brisk breeze exemplify a body of lyrics concerned more with aesthetics than content. But that is the extent of Mr. Meyer’s troubles. If only the rest of us were lucky enough to be flawed only by an absurd obsession with form.
Zephuros’ collection of crystalline melody is near perfect. The orchestration is at once humble and gigantic. The opposing forces of The Drowned Coast underscore Zephuros’ most exceptional quality. He is able to write and arrange with depth and charisma, while maintaining an aura of wonderment and innocent ambition. When I hear this man and his band, I am reminded of Schroeder, or an unsure, unsteady Nick Drake. The likeness comes not from any obvious influence, but from an underlying spirit of contemplative adventure. All of Zeph’s worth is invested in that spirit—what is unknown and inquisitive to human nature. The Drowned Coast does not reveal anything to us. Rather more descriptively, it comforts our lost and inextricably incomplete sense of self. His words are not experiential, they are observational. Zephuros does not write about wildlife, he writes about the most mundane and beautifully banal humanlife.
The Black Gull- 2007