George Ezra has been gaining momentum following the success of global hit Budapest, a Brit nomination for British Breakthrough Act and two EPs. The young Mr Barnett has already performed at Glastonbury and once opened for the great Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin.
Co-written with Athlete frontman Joel Pott, Listen to the Man brings cool with its dissipating cymbals and crunchy, duetting guitar riffs that shuffle effortlessly. There’s a steady, laidback groove that harks to the relaxed White Album version of Revolution by the Fab Four.
Ezra’s earnest, folksy vocals that are more akin to a seasoned American folk singer from the Deep South again startle in their richness and defy his tender 21 years. The verses innocently come onto the listener, punctuated by the odd triangle pulse and percussion shake. Before long, the choruses take listeners back to the familiar retro confines of a smoky club, with a melody that swings, words that reassure (‘don’t have to be scared baby…listen to the man that’s loving you’) and a almost saccharine ‘whoa, oh, whoa-oh’. There’s even a slightly dramatic twist in the ‘easy, easy…breezy, breezy’ bridge that meshes well with the final chorus.
The track’s composition might be sparse and it might not hook like Budapest, but this innocent, contagious sing-along can’t help but put smiles on listeners’ faces.