Here’s a controversial opinion for you, I honestly believe that George Ezra is everything that Ed Sheeran would love to be, musically. His pop rock, or pop ‘n’ roll, as I have read it described, is cool and catchy, and far removed from Sheeran’s soppy, try-hard (although somehow uber popular) work. Ezra is fun (his guest spot on the rebooted Vic and Bob’s Big Night Out shouldn’t be forgotten). He is also very good at what he does. If I wasn’t clear before, I’m nailing my colours to Ezra’s mast and would definitely back him to knock Sheeran out in a fight.
Why does any of this matter? Well, a little over a week ago Georgie baby dropped his new album, Gold Rush Kid (Columbia Records) and it’s just what the doctor ordered this summer. In fact, it’s the type of thing I reckon our new Doctor might listen to, am I right Ncuti Gatwa? You might wonder why I make the Sheeran and Ezra comparison, putting it simply, Sheeran wants you to believe his lyrics (which nobody in their right mind can); while Ezra tells it like it is.
Ezra says of his latest effort, ‘The Gold Rush Kid? That’s me.’ Speaking further about what is undoubtedly his most intimate record to date, ‘It’s a character I’m looking to embody, to remind myself how I felt throughout the process of writing and recording these songs. Coming back of all the touring for the second album, I was really struck by what it was like to be away from the people you know and love for so long. You’ve also been away from day-to-day routine, from normality. So that reconnection is something worth pursuing: go and check in with that person. But then, when you think about it, touring is also a thrill – you get to see all these amazing places. And I realised they were two polar opposites that can’t exist at the same time – but they’re worth pursuing.’
The record that was borne of this realisation feels like truth, it is immediate, personal, and reflective. Take Love Somebody Else for example, it was recently praised by The Guardian for its emotional lyricism and ‘stately and cinematic’ atmospherics in their Album of the Week review.
A personal favourite is Dance All Over Me, while I Went Hunting offers a change of pace at the two thirds mark. It’s flighty and mature in its sound, and reminds me of both Badly Drawn Boy and Travis, which in my opinion is no bad thing.
To celebrate the release of Gold Rush Kid, Ezra will play his biggest headline show to date, a special all-day event at London’s Finsbury Park on 17 July 2022. Joining George will be special guests Blossoms, Holly Humberstone, Mimi Webb, The Big Moon, Mychelle and the London International Gospel Choir.
He has also announced a full nationwide UK & Irish arena tour to follow in September & October 2022, beginning at Liverpool M&S Bank Arena on 13 September and taking in 11 shows, finishing at Sheffield Utilita Arena on 2 October. Tickets are on sale now via Ticketmaster.