Album Review: George Ezra – Staying at Tamara’s

Chris Connor reviews George Ezra's new album, Staying at Tamara's.

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In 2014 many were bowled over by George Ezra’s single “Budapest”, with his deep powerful vocals and upbeat tempo, it became a summer anthem.  The album which followed was also a massive success reaching number one in the UK and boasting other popular tracks such as “Blame it on Me” and “Cassy O”. Ezra’s album was one of several to reignite interest in folk-rock in 2014, with the influence of Bob Dylan clearly on display and with Hozier’s self titled debut coming not long after as well as James Bay’s debut. When Ezra released “Don’t matter now” last summer, my hopes for his second album skyrocketed, it was a refreshing laid back summer track, making the most of Ezra’s unique vocals.

Staying at Tamara’s kicks off with “Pretty Shining People” a fun number with a very upbeat chorus, marring a more downbeat opening. Many have commented on similarities between “Shotgun” and several tracks from Paul Simon’s “Graceland” and it does certainly the bassline in particular and more afro beat sounds, show a growing diversity in Ezra’s sound.

my hopes for his second album skyrocketed

“Paradise” is likely to be the biggest hit off the album, it’s an infectiously catchy number, which is just incessantly joyful and makes you forget the dullness of life, it has also been a chart success, currently sitting at no. 5 in the singles chart. All my love is perhaps one of the less impressive songs on the album, verging on dirgeful at times, it feels like Ezra at his most uninspired and mundane.

One of my personal highlights from Staying at Tamara’s is Saviour a collaboration with Swedish superstars First Aid Kit. Whilst their beautiful harmonies could perhaps be brought more to the fore, the vocal strength of Ezra as well as the Sodberg sisters make for a beautiful sound and, hopefully, we can enjoy more collaborations like this from Ezra in the future.

incessantly joyful and makes you forget the dullness of life

“Only a Human” is more downbeat than some of the other tracks, which I find perhaps doesn’t best suit Ezra’s voice, feeling like a song better suited for someone like Hozier, however it shows that he is willing to take risks with his sound and it becomes almost a jazz number in the middle with background horns.  “The beautiful dream” becomes almost a European pop song in the middle with haunting female vocals accompanying Ezra’s, it’s a strong number to close out the album.

Overall George Ezra has managed to make a consistently enjoyable and upbeat second album to follow on from the mega success of Wanted On Voyage, whilst lacking a “Budapest” it does show he is likely to remain successful going forward as well as illustrating a wealth of genres that have influenced him and we can look forward to his continuing evolution as both a songwriter and artist overall. Hopefully, we don’t have to wait another four years for his next record, but it appears there will be plenty of opportunities to see him live at festivals over the summer and into next year.

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