Photo Credit: Phil Smithies
Staying at Tamara’s is the second full-length album for 25-year-old English musician, George Ezra. Featuring 11 tracks, there is definitely enough music on the album to please the palette of a folk rock indulger. For first time listeners of George Ezra, this album truly shows off the distinctness of the singer’s vocals. The combination of his slight English accent and deep baritone voice makes for an interesting timbre. Genre wise, listeners can expect to find tunes similar to the likes of Mumford and Sons, The Lumineers and Vance Joy.
This album finds itself in a middle ground between folk and pop. Some tracks definitely feature more of a twang guitar with elements of folk roots and even blues aspects while others are pretty much stereotypical pop. Songs like the eighth track, “Hold My Girl” features an acoustic guitar prominence while songs on the album such as “Don’t Matter Now” sound more like a Hot Chelle Rae tune with aspects of electronica and a call-and-response chorus section.
The first track of the album, “Pretty Shining People”, is a mid-tempo track that is surprisingly uplifting and motivational with lyrics in the pre-chorus exclaiming, “What a terrible time to be alive if you’re prone to overthinking.” The lyrics go on to promote togetherness and unity. The song starts off with a finger-picked acoustic guitar and light bass. When the first pre-chorus starts, a tambourine accentuates a build up to the first chorus. This track serves as a good summary of the rest of the album in itself by combing elements of minimalist folk and pop.
The final track on the album, “The Beautiful Dream” is a more solemn piece featuring electronic pads. The song lyrically is comparing Ezra’s love to that of Adam and Eve and his future in the relationship to living in the Garden of Eden. The song is definitely the least upbeat of the album and adds a really nice change to the rest of the album’s general pace.
Onto the criticism, there are some very generic motifs found throughout the album. From typical chord progressions, to whole songs sounding very similar to other artists, some of the album can definitely be thrown away as shovelware. Lyrically this is true as well with songs like “All My Love” discussing extremely overdone sentiments regarding relationships. Also, the album runs 37 minutes in length whereas his first one clocked in around 53 minutes. It is a shame that all of the tracks on the album are not incredible despite cutting down 16 minutes of music. While this may sound nit-picky, there shouldn’t really be generic sounding tracks on an album that is shorter than an episode of The Walking Dead.
With that criticism aside, this album is very well produced and features some pretty catchy tracks. I could see “Pretty Shining People” and “Don’t Matter Now” becoming decently big radio hits. Overall this album was a very safe play by Ezra. Whether it be viewed as positive or negative by the listener, this album acts almost like a second part to his 2014 hit album, Wanted on a Voyage. It definitely would’ve been nice to have seen more risks taken in regards to songwriting for this album. Hopefully, these changes find their way onto the next one.