New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Review: Zach Bryan’s ‘Boys Of Faith’ is the perfect folk EP for the nostalgics

Zach Bryan surprises fans with his new EP, bringing them 16 minutes of emotionally unfiltered Americana folk.
Country-folk singer Zach Bryan released a new EP, “Boys of Faith.” (Photo by Travis Pavlik)

Zach Bryan’s newest EP “Boys of Faith” is a testament to his authenticity and dedication to putting out solid music. The 27-year-old country-folk singer released the work on Sept. 22, merely four weeks after the release of his self-titled fourth studio album. The five-song EP is a relatable exploration of bittersweet emotions, nostalgia and longing. 

Bryan skyrocketed into popularity in 2019 when a video he posted of his song “Heading South” went viral on YouTube. He released his debut album “DeAnn” shortly after in August of that year. Since then, the Oklahoma native released music in abundance, with his discography currently containing three studio albums and three EPs. 

His new EP came as a delightful surprise to fans, as many weren’t expecting a release so soon after his last album. 

“Boys Of Faith” features collaborations with folk icon Bon Iver on the title track and up-and-coming pop-folk artist Noah Kahan on “Sarah’s Place.” These two collaborations reflect Bryan’s shift away from the country genre that his previous albums fell under, and more into an Americana folk sound. 

Bryan writes and produces all of his music, creating an authentic message that reflects his life. This independent approach has been consistent throughout his career and can be tracked all the way back to his YouTube roots. Bryan strays from using synthesizers or heavy instruments, typically relying on his vocals and guitars. He often uses sounds that are seemingly out of place, such as white noise, rain or gravelly tone that, instead of taking away from the music, somehow enhance the homemade effect. All of these elements are consistent throughout “Boys Of Faith.”

The EP covers feelings of nostalgia, pain and growth. Bryan writes about his old friendships, ex-relationships and the feeling of being disconnected from his past after experiencing self-growth. Lyrically, the EP is relatable in its vulnerability. In the titular track, Bryan sings, “Cause boys like us fade away / But you stuck around when I was down / And I’ll owe you all my days.” He writes about drifting away from old friends but still expressing his loyalty and gratitude for them — an experience many out-of-town college students can relate to.

The emotions explored in these songs are familiar whether you’re a first-year who feels as though you’ve outgrown your high school relationships or a senior moving onto a new life chapter. The tracks are versatile in the range of heavy emotions they harness. Some moments spark hope in listeners, while others might elicit tears.

While attending school in the busy city of New York can be extremely exciting, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle. Bryan’s “Boys Of Faith” allows listeners to slow down and work through their struggles alongside him, in hopes that they grow from life’s hardships just as he did.

Contact Skylar Boilard at [email protected].

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