George Ezra tops debut with shining sophomore effort

BY MILES PREKOSKI

Ezra’s sophomore album, released in late March, entered the number one spot on the U.K.’s album charts. courtesy of GEORGE EZRA

In 2014, George Ezra released the third top-selling album of the year. After a four-year drought, fans were left wondering if Ezra would release a sophomore album that could compare to the first.

 

He’s done exactly that. In fact, he’s released an album that is even better.

 

In late March, the U.K. native released “Staying at Tamara’s,” an upbeat, versatile album that’s perfect for the summer season. The 11-song, just under 40-minute project shifts gears throughout, going from endless summer ballads to love songs to his girlfriend. This combination makes the new release challenging not to love.

 

Four years ago, it was hard not to hear Ezra’s hit single “Budapest” on the radio. His unique, low voice provided a type of music that somehow differed from everything else. The then 21-year-old rose to fame subsequently, bringing him to release his sophomore studio album.

 

The collection is a product of Ezra making an effort to find a creative passage. The songwriter booked a flight for Barcelona and rented a room in a flat from a woman named Tamara. Ezra’s anxiety was so severe that it limited him to go on tours and put out albums. The trip to Barcelona finally allowed the singer-songwriter to work on something his fans have been waiting for for years.

 

“Tamara’s” opens with “Pretty Shining People,” a song about a conversation with a friend, bringing a surprisingly loud chorus with an upbeat instrumental. It’s clear from the start that this is more outgoing, more experimental and more confident.

 

The summer vibe continues on tracks like “Shotgun” and “Paradise,” both featuring catchy, quick melodies. “Deep-sea diving ‘round the clock, bikini bottoms, lager tops” shows the joyful vibe coming off the collection of songs, a lyric that’s hard to forget.

 

The main criticism of the album from dedicated fans is the change coming from Ezra. His first project, “Wanted on Voyage,” features the style that made him. His slow, folk-style rock music was perfect, bringing him major success on his last album.

 

At some points, this new 11-song work has unneeded filler. “Only a Human” and “Savior,” featuring First Aid Kit, a Swedish folk duo, leaves me with nothing to think about, without any powerful lyricism or meaning to the songs. The record could have been shortened to eight or nine songs.

 

While this may be true, there is still room for Ezra to shine on the album. This is his second of, hopefully, many, and the change in his style is inevitable.

 

The overall vibe of the project begins to switch in the second half, as Ezra shifts the overall view of the album to his love interest. Songs like “Hold My Girl” and “Sugarcoat” show Ezra pouring out his love over a slow, meaningful instrumental. The songs are deep and powerful.

 

Where Ezra really shines throughout the record is his voice. From the very first song, you can immediately recognize the powerful and deep voice, whether it be on his love ballads or his summer songs. It’s hard to not keep the catchy melodies and unforgettable voice out of your head after a listen to this collection or any of the other works from Ezra.

 

“Staying at Tamara’s” will remain a perfect album for summer days, with an overly satisfactory return from one of the most promising names in the music world.