Friction Baby (CD) Better Than Ezra
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Friction Baby (CD) Better Than Ezra

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The first two albums from Better Than Ezra were recorded as low-budget demos and released on tiny indie labels, even though the second one, Deluxe, was leased by Elektra and turned into a platinum smash. The third album, Friction, Baby, is the trio's first with a big budget and an experienced producer (Don Gehman of John Mellencamp, R.E.M., and Hootie & the Blowfish), and it crystallizes Better Than Ezra's identity as a mainstream pop band relying on catchy hooks, straightforward lyrics, and top-40 arrangements (which in 1996 meant grunge guitar). Kevin Griffin, the group's singer/songwriter/guitarist, has excellent pop instincts, and the 13 songs on Friction, Baby are as pleasurable as they are unadventurous. --Geoffrey Himes