If there’s one word to describe George Ezra, it’s “sunny”. A man double-parking a fruity cocktail and a pint of your finest Spanish lager by the Med. He’s determined to have a good time even if things are going a bit pear-shaped - and he wants you to have a good time too. That’s been the case since ‘Wanted On Voyage’, and it’s still the case with third full-length, ‘Gold Rush Kid’; endlessly cheery songs with an undercurrent of sadness. It’s always an interesting proposition, especially when his bluesy vocals sound so weather-worn and beaten down. It gives festival singalongs like ‘Green Green Grass’ and ‘Manila’ a rougher edge, even if lyrics like “Every time I see you out on the street / I wanna say, hey babe / What is it that you know that I don’t know?” then come out a little clumsy. But this is his wheelhouse; big choruses, big emotions. The latter half of the record, though, where George leans into the darkness, is where it really shines. ‘Dance All Over Me’ is a showcase for his gravel. Sombre and moody, fizzing with tension and emotion - ‘Dance All Over Me’ is a showcase for his gravel, all sombre and moody, fizzing with tension and emotion. ‘I Went Hunting’, meanwhile, is a classically beautiful little ballad. Though it’s the big tunes like ‘Anyone For You’ that are going to grab the crowds with hooks galore, it’s the quieter moments that bring ‘Gold Rush Kid’ that little bit of magic. George Ezra knows his strengths, he knows his audience, and he’s sticking to it come hell or high water. The result is still yet another charming record that’s hard not to love.
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