3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
flawed masterpiece - dark, multi-layered & moody,
This review is from: Lewis Taylor (Audio CD)
Balls to the Marvin Gaye comparisons! Clearly Taylor has a wide ranging and eclectic musical mind. Comparisons and stylistic compartments are better applied to lesser talents.
'Whoever' is a standout track for me, having a melodicly strong core that's more easy to follow than some of the other tunes. It also sums up the dichotomy at the heart of a lot of Taylor's music: joyful music with melancholy lyrics. It's true to say that sometimes these pieces appear sprawling, unfocussed even. But that's the psychedelic soul of it!
The upside of this last factor is that sometimes, an already excellent song will morph into something very different, yet just as good, or, as is the case with 'Track', something even better. The playout on this number is phenomenal. Some people would be hard pressed to come up with something this musically compelling and enjoyable in a lifetime of trying. Lewis manages to tack this on the end almost like an afterthought, that's how many good ideas he's got!
My one complaint (and I'm a drummer myself, so this might be why) is the lack of real drums. Apart from what might be live drums on the 6/8 groove of 'How' it's all programmed beats. Given the sprawling, psychedelicized organicism of the bass, guitars, keys and vocals, this strikes me as inconguous and a missed opportunity.
I don't think lyrics are Taylor's strongest card (at least on this album, exceptions being 'Whoever', 'Damn' & 'Spirit'), but they're certainly perfectly ok, just perhaps not as finessed as the music/playing. This is a funny thing too, because of the fabulous quality of his voice, and the way it's so much in the foreground of the album. Throughout multi-layered vocals are a real feature, and the album closes on the sublime acapella of 'Spirit', with a vibe that, like one of the track title's, sums up the feel of this debut album: 'Bittersweet'.