With Zephyrus, The Oh Hellos close out their four-EP project spanning several years. It’s exciting and a bit sad all at once seeing the project come to an end, especially with a lengthy gap between the first and latter halves of the project. Much like the consecutive releases of Notos and Euros, Zephyrus follows Boreas closely and shows the band at a higher degree of mixing and mastering. And while Thrice’s Alchemy Index took a similar four-disk approach, it felt more experimental and diverse. These four EPs, while distinct, ultimately feel more cohesive – there are repeated motifs, the use of interludes, and all of them are a similar length.
Zephyrus is the “spring” piece of the series, following the wintery Boreas. As to be expected of spring, it’s bright and airy. But even so, hints of deconstruction loom on this release – and while the band still holds to their faith, the series has certainly proven an effort of questioning. Indeed, the winds themselves which are adorned upon the EP titles are not seasons themselves in the proper sense. Instead, they usher in new seasons. It’s a look at how ideas originate – and their subsequent impact.
In their poetic manner, the Heath siblings tread seamlessly between biblical references (Moses in a basket on “Rio Grande”) and greater mythology (“Theseus” and the title track). It’s a literary conglomeration; one that is as verbose as it is ambiguous. The Oh Hellos paint pictures far better than they make statements, it could be argued.
Like most of the series, Zephyrus is hit-and-miss. None of it feels particularly bad, but between two lead vocalists and an endless array of instruments at their disposal, there’s plenty of variety to behold. Some moments are a bit more constrained than others. At times, the pair move at full speed; moments later, they stop on a dime.
“Theseus” and “Soap” are probably the two highlight tracks here, akin to the energy of their forerunners “Lapis Lazuli” and “Constellations”. But beyond perhaps “Rio Grande”, much of the EP is a bit uninteresting. All that said, that makes about half of the EP’s runtime decent – but the other half lacks a bit of that grandeur.
All that said, Zephyrus is par for the course with its counterparts – and odd mix of strong and passable moments draped in elegant poetry, lacking in all of the areas that keep it from being solid all around.