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George Ezra - Staying at Tamara's (Album Review)

Thursday, 29 March 2018 Written by Jacob Brookman

‘Staying at Tamara’s’, George Ezra’s second album, has been accompanied by the kind of major label fanfare that suggests the British singer-songwriter is here to stay.

It’s a consistently positive record, eschewing the sentimental anxiety of contemporaries Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran, while adding bumpy horn arrangements and folksy vocal motifs that show a degree of musical growth from his 2014 debut. And yet, it doesn’t quite excite in the same ways as ‘Wanted on Voyage’ did.

Tracks like All My Love and Shotgun are good examples of why. They both feature original sounding sections that combine well with Ezra’s hugely distinctive baritone. But, though these songs develop into decent pop toe-tappers, too often one tunes out from melodies and lyrics which lack bite.

A good example is when the instruments fall away on Shotgun, and we are left with a fairly unison (read: unharmonised) a capella section: “Time flies by in the yellow and green, stick around and you'll see what I mean / There's a mountaintop that I'm dreaming of, if you need me you know where I'll be.”

The absence of detailed melodic blend here is surely a nod to the singalong nature of the track, which is understandable given that Ezra is made for festival tea times. But the lack of tonal imagination suggests a creative conservatism that really shouldn’t be present in a writer so young.

Additionally, the isolation of the vocals drive home just how meaningless the words are. Like the Killers’ “I’ve got a soul, but I’m not a soldier”, such platitudes may inspire great loyalty in the present, and utter contempt in 10 years’ time.

Maybe contempt is too strong, but Ezra is clearly a fine talent and a very likeable character - it would be a shame if his talents regressed due to too many commercial compromises. We need songwriters who are positive and open-eyed, but we also need songwriters who shine a light on the unknown, and speak truth to power. ‘Staying at Tamara’s’ lacks purpose.

George Ezra Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu March 29 2018 - LEEDS O2 Academy Leeds
Fri March 30 2018 - MANCHESTER O2 Apollo
Sat March 31 2018 - EDINBURGH Usher Hall
Mon April 02 2018 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Tue April 03 2018 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Wed April 04 2018 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy Birmingham
Sun June 17 2018 - TETBURY Westonbirt Arboretum
Sun June 24 2018 - PICKERING Dalby Forest
Sun July 01 2018 - RUGELEY Cannock Chase Forest
Fri July 20 2018 - LANCASHIRE Lytham Green
Wed August 01 2018 - ESHER Sandown Park Racecourse
Fri August 10 2018 - BELFAST Custom House Square Belfast
Fri August 17 2018 - NEWMARKET Racecourse
Sat August 18 2018 - SHEFFIELD Don Valley Bowl
Thu November 08 2018 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE O2 Academy Newcastle
Fri November 09 2018 - LIVERPOOL Liverpool Su Mountford Hall
Sat November 10 2018 - HULL Hull Venue
Mon November 12 2018 - GLASGOW Barrowland
Tue November 13 2018 - GLASGOW Barrowland
Thu November 15 2018 - LONDON SSE Arena, Wembley
Fri November 16 2018 - SWINDON Oasis Leisure Centre

Click here to compare & buy George Ezra Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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