Album: Lewis Taylor

The Lost Album, SLOW REALITY
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The Independent Culture

On the release of his 1996 debut album, Lewis Taylor was lauded as, among other things, the blue-eyed British inheritor of Marvin Gaye's mantle. Most singers would have been flattered, but Taylor kicked hard against it, changing style to the point that, despite backing from the likes of Elton, Bowie, Timbaland and Aaliyah, his label Island felt able to terminate his contract. Taylor retreated to his bedroom to craft his meticulously overdubbed solo meisterwerks, releasing three albums on his own Slow Reality label before he and co-producer Sabina Smyth began re-recording the demos Island had rejected. The results suggest that, rather than Gaye, Taylor is more the Todd Rundgren of his era, blending prog rock and soft soul in dense, wedding-cake arrangements iced with layer upon layer of falsetto harmonies. Song after song recalls such early 1970s AOR giants as Chicago, Crosby, Stills and Nash, The Fifth Dimension and Hall & Oates, with a soupçon of Love in "Yeah", and a superb Pet

On the release of his 1996 debut album, Lewis Taylor was lauded as, among other things, the blue-eyed British inheritor of Marvin Gaye's mantle. Most singers would have been flattered, but Taylor kicked hard against it, changing style to the point that, despite backing from the likes of Elton, Bowie, Timbaland and Aaliyah, his label Island felt able to terminate his contract. Taylor retreated to his bedroom to craft his meticulously overdubbed solo meisterwerks, releasing three albums on his own Slow Reality label before he and co-producer Sabina Smyth began re-recording the demos Island had rejected. The results suggest that, rather than Gaye, Taylor is more the Todd Rundgren of his era, blending prog rock and soft soul in dense, wedding-cake arrangements iced with layer upon layer of falsetto harmonies. Song after song recalls such early 1970s AOR giants as Chicago, Crosby, Stills and Nash, The Fifth Dimension and Hall & Oates, with a soupçon of Love in "Yeah", and a superb Pet Sounds pastiche in "Let's Hope Nobody Finds Us". This brilliantly adapts not just that album's melodic and textural manner, but also its lovelorn, introspective tone. Overall, it's another hugely ambitious work, spoilt only in the later stages by Taylor's weakness for over-egging his melodies and arrangements, which can lead him perilously close to Yes.

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