Album Cover Courtesy of Columbia Records

Perhaps more than any artist around today, the deep-baritone vocals of England’s own George Ezra remains a favorite of mine to mimic whenever I feel like rocking out on a lengthy road trip. A storyteller as well as songwriter, Ezra has made a name for himself through not only his straight-forward, narrative lyricism, but his entrancing vocal range that continues to surprise his ever-growing fanbase as well. While his 2014 debut in “Wanted on Voyage” introduced me to a set of experimental folk-pop that emphasized the 24-year-old’s cavernous baritone, his latest in “Staying at Tamara’s” challenges the artist to go further with his unique, dynamic sound.

Slowly trickling out his newest singles throughout the end of last year and into 2018, George Ezra teased an album that would not only delve into his various trips across Europe, but also explore his deep-seated affection with a variety of globe-trotting genres. With his sophomore record spanning eras of music from the simple swoons of the 1950s in “All My Love” to the sporadic and vibrant Afro-pop of “Shotgun,” Ezra’s confidence in broadening his horizons as an artist is on full display in “Staying at Tamara’s.” Pushing off ground from his roots as a protege of Bob Dylan, one of the most influential artists of the American folk and blues genre, Ezra works to evolve his sound, while still retaining much of the experimental qualities of his debut.

While I still might be somewhat indifferent to deeming “Staying at Tamara’s” superior to Ezra’s phenomenal debut, similar to my thoughts on Vance Joy’s own sophomore record released this year, the Brit’s second record in four years is without a doubt packed with a great amount of potential. Along with that, the record also holds a unique ounce of optimism at a time when the world often feels quite dark. Finding light in a world of fear and threat, Ezra infuses vibrant pop anthems with his own compelling facet of soul and storytelling. While singles like “Shotgun” and “Get Away” might work to mimic a shimmering summer hit off the radio, more meaningful and comprehensive songs like opener “Pretty Shining People” and “The Beautiful Dream” offer subtle insights into Ezra’s deeper thoughts. Within those thoughts lies less of a cliched love story or a superficial outlook on life, and more of an artist looking within himself to give to the world a confident sense of hope and ambition.

George Ezra’s second album “Staying at Tamara’s,” including singles “Paradise” and “Don’t Matter Now,” is now available to stream and buy everywhere.