“Staying at Tamara’s”
BOTTOM LINE Letting his eclectic influences broaden his already expansive rock horizons.
George Ezra, best known for his lively breakout hit “Budapest,” is a storyteller more than anything else, though the British singer-songwriter’s deep baritone is what gets the most attention.
That may change with his sophomore album, “Staying at Tamara’s” (Columbia), which brings together an eclectic mix of ’50s simplicity, spiky Afro-pop, and Ed Sheeran-esque pop-folkiness for an interesting collection of travel-inspired tales.
Ezra is at his best when he is straightforward, whether it’s the peppy call-and-response of the first single “Paradise” or the ’50s crooning he does in the timeless ballad “All My Love,” which could easily be the next step for those who have burned themselves out on Sheeran’s smash “Perfect.”
However, Ezra’s experiments in Paul Simon-like world beat in the upbeat, South African sweetness of “Shotgun,” which sounds like a potential summer anthem, and the lilting beauty of “Sugarcoat” show the 24-year-old’s ongoing growth as a songwriter and storyteller, as he describes a dreamy trip to Johannesburg.
Throughout “Staying at Tamara’s,” Ezra establishes himself as a talent as serious as his voice, while keeping the mood light.