Gorgeous George, with his gorgeous Deep South baritone folk voice, rhythmic guitar strumming and tongue-in-cheek lyrics, had us at hello when we first listened to his debut album, rich with crisp and upbeat melodies and full-throated choruses. Indeed, the album is chirpy, charming, soulful and oh so full of gusto.
George Ezra, the 21 year-old from Hertford who went to music college in Bristol, who came fifth in the BBC sound of 2014, and who has been topping the charts across Europe with his hit single “Budapest”, released his debut album, “Wanted On Voyage”, in June earlier this year. Ezra took inspiration from the journals he kept whilst traveling and busking his way across Europe and based most of the songs on his album on his experiences. Full of adventure, “Wanted On Voyage” feels fresh, vibrant, enthusiastic and tirelessly energetic.
George Ezra – Budapest
“Blame It On Me” kicks off the album with a blazing start, with its powerful vocals that scream out Ezra’s self-confidence as a singer-songwriter. It’s quite remarkable how quickly he has us captivated and wanting more. And he sure gives us more with “Budapest”, a simple folk song with a foot-tapping baseline, in which Ezra’s solid vocals take centre stage as he tells the story about a man willing to give up everything for the one he loves, singing “for you, I’d leave it all/ Give me one good reason why I should never make a change”. Despite the single’s recycled lyrical content, Ezra strikes an authentic note, and we can’t help but adore his sweetness and sincerity.
George Ezra – Blame It On Me
This bleeds into “Cassy O’”, a song that, at first glance, just doesn’t seem to make any sense at all, whose narrative is absurd, and whose lyrics read, “I travelled to Australia and I travelled there by train”. But, in fact, “Cassy O’” is a song about the unalterable passing of Time. Ezra sings: “the bastard face kept changing and the hands they wouldn’t stop”. The track is fun, enthusiastic and powerful, and is catchy as hell.
George Ezra – Cassy O
Ezra beautifully strips it back, with his lovely and nostalgic ballad “Barcelona”, one of his more traditional songs on the album, followed with the playful track, “Leaving It Up To You”, in which Ezra contemplates an ex and her “half-wit of a boyfriend” and expresses “it’s a damn good job he isn’t here or I might have wind up harming your darling”. Ezra unexpectedly falls into an exquisite falsetto as he sings the chorus “leaving it up to you”.
George Ezra – Barcelona
George Ezra – Leaving It Up to You
“Did You Hear The Rain?” is one of Ezra’s older tracks, a stunning a cappella version of the deep dark delta blues atmosphere he adopts from his peers, and with a taste of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. Ezra literally howls, and sings, “you can try and run and hide, tearing at the chain oh, Lucifer’s inside”. The song is interesting and soulful, with full-blown instrumentation; it’s incredibly catchy, and has a bottomless sound.
George Ezra – Did You Hear the Rain?
While “Stand By Your Gun” takes a slightly different sonic direction, experimenting with electronic keyboard disco sounds and beatbox loops, “Breakaway” takes on a deep, expressive and elegant tone. Ezra opens with bare vocals against a guitar and gradually builds the song up until a gospel choir finally kicks in toward the second half of this staggering song, and produces goosebumps. The song is breathtaking and mournful and we can’t help but play it on repeat.
George Ezra – Breakaway on BBC Introducing in the West
Ezra closes the album with “Spectacular Rival”, a song that takes on an old western feel, with Ezra’s gloomy and powerful voice reverberating and bringing the album to a spectacular climax. Here, Ezra gives us inkling as to where he’ll be taking his music next, and damn, it’s exciting!
George Ezra – Spectacular Rival
As for the songs on the deluxe album, well, they’re something quite special.
Gorgeous George is far more than a handsome face and an excellent voice. He’s reached first place after sprinting his way across the finish line, and there still seems to be more fuel in him! He’s the real deal, a howling wolf, and it’s quite clear that he’ll be coming back with more.
Wanted on Voyage Tracklist
1. Blame It on Me
3. Cassy O
5. Listen to the Man
6. Leaving It Up to You
7. Did You Hear the Rain?
8. Drawing Board
9. Stand by Your Gun
11. Over the Creek
12. Spectacular Rival
13. Song 6
14. It’s Just My Skin
15. Da Vinci Riot Police
16. Blind Man in Amsterdam
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