George Ezra accomplished success with his debut, ‘Wanted On Voyage’, that most singer-songwriters only aspire to. He was the third highest selling artist in 2014, coming just behind Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith. This means that his follow up was hugely anticipated and was always going to be heavily scrutinised. But, after four years, he has returned with ‘Staying At Tamara’s’ and has shown any nay-sayers that he is more than just a one-trick pony.
The second single from the album, Paradise, is by far the most reminiscent of the sound of Ezra’s debut. It is, in every sense of the phrase, a George Ezra song. It’s not particularly remarkable but it serves nicely a way to hook in old fans and to remind them what they originally fell in love with, only to then show the growth he has been through as an artist elsewhere in the record.
The rest of the album is really where Ezra shines. It’s hard to pick a stand-out song as each one shows another side of his talent. His ability to write catchy hooks without falling into the trap of creating soulless songs obviously targeted at radio play is impressive.
That being said, if radio play is what you’re after, Shotgun is easily the most obvious summer-anthem out of the bunch. Its rhythm and sing-along choruses are irresistibly catchy.
In complete contrast to this, Ezra shows his versatility by slowing things down for the likes of All My Love and Hold My Girl – two love songs which strike the difficult to achieve balance between sweet and sickly. The latter of the two is simple, with relatively repetitive lyrics, but manages to convey genuine emotion and show nostalgic blues inspiration without seeming like an imitation. These songs and the change in pace creates a dynamic finished product.
There is scarcely a trace here of the dreaded curse of the second album. Ezra has grown as an artist and produced an album full of potential singles. There is a level of cheesiness that is inevitable with an artist like Ezra, but he carries it off with the charm and talent necessary to produce a sincere and genuine success of an album.