In an overcrowded market of singer-songwriter’s strumming and swooning over the women they love, where is George Ezra going to fit? Finding fans in the likes of Tom Odell, Lianne Le Havas and Willy Mason, his debut EP, ‘Did You Hear The Rain?’ reached no. 6 in the iTunes chart. But what exactly is it that separates him from the Ben Howards and Ed Sheerans we’ve grown weary of?
Opening track Budapest sees Ezra cooing at the extent of his love over a foot-tap worthy bassline. Paul Simon’s influence is immediately obvious: the guitars and backing vocals wouldn’t sound out of place on ‘Graceland’. However, it is Ezra’s signature voice that is the focal point throughout, a raspy bellow that someone manages to be strong and soft at the same time.
From the tender to the tenacious, Ezra ups the ante on the EP’s eponymous title track. Ezra spits over snarling guitars carried by his soul-charged tone. The track’s youthful energy is in complete contrast with Ezra’s mature vocals, making this the stand-out song of the EP.
Benjamin Twine is a bland folk affair (the words ‘Paolo Nutini Lite’ spring to mind), laced with tambourines and tales of summers gone by. Benjamin Twine lacks the force seen on the EP’s other three tracks.
‘Did You Hear The Rain?’ concludes in the same brooding manner it began with. On Angry Hill Ezra croons and plucks, allowing the intensity to build over layers of shouts and voices. He sings of loss and death with an emotional punch not seen among artists his age.
Though Ezra misses the mark on occasion with samey melodies and well-worn lyrics, ‘Did You Hear The Rain?’ is a decent showing from the Bristolian, and gives him the opportunity to show that he is more than just one of the boys.