ONE WE MISSED: George Ezra; Staying at Tamara's (Sony)

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Saviour (ft First Aid Kit)
ONE WE MISSED: George Ezra; Staying at Tamara's (Sony)

Somehow we missed this album when it came out way back in March, which is odd given we were so impressed by this British singer's showing at the Auckland City Limits festival just weeks earlier.

At a festival – and indeed in a music culture in general – where most artists try to amplify their point of difference this 24-year old (he's 25 now) cleaved to simple old values such as catchy songs delivered professionally and with enthusiasm. That he had a good band helped, but you got the very clear impression he could just get up and sing his songs in a corner pub and would be just as happy doing that.

And he wasn't too cool to talk to his audience which seemed predominantly young women who knew every word of every song.

That he's a good looking young man no doubt helps, but for me it was the fact he didn't resort to that white-boy cliché of deploying falsetto to seem sensitive. In fact a baritone is his style.

And his big hit Budapest polished up well (even though I'd never knowingly heard it before).

This second album consolidates his reputation as a predominantly upbeat stylist (the singles Shotgun and Paradise at the centre of these 11 songs) although doesn't unfortunately advance it.

His isn't music which addresses the woes of this world just acknowledges they exist and the best you can do is ride past or above them, and forgive yourself (the ballad Only a Human).

His world is one of catchy choruses, hot sun, horns, heartfelt love songs (the reductively simple but cleverly arranged All My Love among them) and a lack of risk which is disappointing.

We mention it now because he returns to New Zealand for a Spark Arena show in Auckland in early February.

My guess is it will be packed and a good show, but on the evidence of this I won't be there.

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