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George Ezra - Gold Rush Kid (Album Review)

Wednesday, 15 June 2022 Written by Huw Baines

Photo: Alex Aiden-Smith

It is possible for nice music to provoke extreme responses. Sometimes it’s because these inoffensive songs feel disingenuous, and at other times it’s because the lack of invention and risk-taking is stifling.

George Ezra’s music is nice through and through, but even in its most cheery moments it’s hard to imagine anyone getting particularly riled up by it. Part of that stems from his affable, matey approach, and part of it has to do with the fact that he’s not trying to sell us a fake. Across two albums that are 9x platinum in the UK between them, he hasn’t once gone for cool or tortured. His work is fun and carefree and obvious in its attempts to carry that off.

On his third record, ‘Gold Rush Kid’, the singer-songwriter continues to show an appreciation for pop tropes past and present—from commercial house to more of the ‘Graceland’-style bass swerves that drove his hit single Shotgun—that might sit equally effectively at a barbecue in your aunt’s garden and a summer festival with as many sponsors as performers.

It’s neatly constructed and charismatically performed, with even its cheesiest moments given some sense of legitimacy by Ezra’s earnest delivery. When things get thornier, he cannily seems to have a remedy on hand. Green Green Grass is about death, but it’s really about celebrating life. I Went Hunting is about living with OCD, but it folds the idea of intrusive thoughts into its structure, creating the feeling of a process that he is a participant in. 

This song is also far less brash than the LP’s early running order, which feels like a series of calibrated hits in succession. The following song, In the Morning, is also lovely, even when it overplays its hand with some OTT backing vocals. Its focus is romantic, but the idea of working through things is carried over. Ezra seems to believe that there are answers out there and, even if there aren’t, that belief is something.

‘Gold Rush Kid’ might easily be dismissed or rubbished given its overriding naffness, but there is something about Ezra. We are regularly invited to unhinge our jaws and scarf down content that is apparently tailor-made for us, but he shows that mass appeal isn’t on the slab just yet.

George Ezra Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sun July 17 2022 - LONDON Finsbury Park
Tue September 13 2022 - LIVERPOOL M&S Bank Arena
Wed September 14 2022 - CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena
Fri September 16 2022 - MANCHESTER AO Arena
Sat September 17 2022 - MANCHESTER AO Arena
Tue September 20 2022 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Utilita Arena
Thu September 22 2022 - BIRMINGHAM Utilita Arena
Fri September 23 2022 - SCARBOROUGH Open Air Theatre
Sun September 25 2022 - ABERDEEN P&J Live
Mon September 26 2022 - GLASGOW OVO Hydro
Wed September 28 2022 - BELFAST SSE Arena Belfast
Thu September 29 2022 - DUBLIN 3Arena
Sat October 01 2022 - NOTTINGHAM Motorpoint Arena
Sun October 02 2022 - SHEFFIELD Utilita Arena

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