Refreshingly blends a new sentimentality with the usual bangers.
Four years ago, George Ezra released his first album Wanted on Voyage, a hugely successful debut that quickly brought him to mainstream prominence. With memorable choruses on ‘Blame it On Me’ and his U.K. top five single ‘Budapest’ it’s safe to say new material has been a long time coming. Here we have Staying at Tamara’s, Ezra’s second album which reacquaints us with the singer/songwriter in a way that seems as if he never left.
Staying at Tamara's demonstrates a mature progression from Ezra that drastically differs from his previous effort. The big choruses in the album’s first half may be reminiscent of what we’re familiar with from the singer/songwriter, but this time his vocals are delivered with a huge dollop of self-assured confidence.
It kick-starts with the bouncy ‘Pretty Shining People’, a reminder of what made George Ezra so popular in the first place; his uplifting feel-good tracks. The sheer optimism of this track ‘hey pretty shining people, we’re alright together’ is another example of Ezra's upbeat approach when it comes to making music.
Lead single, first released last summer, ‘Don’t Matter Now’ is now an old favourite for those who have been awaiting the full LP - it sits comfortably with the newer tracks. However, it is ‘Paradise’ (which looks set to be the album’s most recognisable song) that reinforces this combination of old and new approach from Ezra. The track is about falling in love and the highs of a new relationship. The raw emotiveness Ezra displays within Staying at Tamara’s has kept it fresh, rather than it just being a rehash of the first LP or something too similar to what we’ve already heard from the singer.
The second half of the album is where the shift in Ezra’s direction is most apparent. On ‘Hold My Girl’ the singer’s sentimental side in unleashed, which was notably absent on Wanted on Voyage. The same can be said for ‘Only a Human’, a piano-led ballad that continues this subtle shift from Ezra. He has the knack of being able to explore as an artist whilst staying true to his own brand - his newly evolved work is still familiar.
With this record, Ezra demonstrates progress and maturity. Staying at Tamara’s may be just as accessible as his debut but it has an edge of the sentimental, and perhaps even the cynical. It serves as an older brother to Wanted on Voyage, almost acting as a journal, documenting Ezra's journey from his humble beginnings. Clearly, heading to Barcelona and Staying at Tamara’s was the right thing to do.