2/22/2009

The Lost Artist



LEWIS TAYLOR
The Lost Album
(Hacktone-2006)

Despite some big friends in high places—David Bowie, Daryl Hall, Elton John, and Paul Weller are among those who have raved about him—British soul music visionary/multi-instrumentalist Lewis Taylor has remained firmly ensconced in the nether regions of the musical underground. What a sorry, sorry shame this is indeed. For you see, Taylor is a man of monumental talent.

We first heard of him when coming across a copy of Stoned [Hacktone-2005] and were summarily impressed with Taylor’s Marvin Gaye/Isley Bros/Hendrix approach to current-day R&B. Unfortunately, Stoned sank without a trace here, but the album’s promotional cycle brought Taylor to the US to perform his first ever stateside solo shows, which were met with much love by the devoted. Sadly, soon after an appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, the tour came to a grinding halt, and subsequently, little was heard from Taylor.

Thankfully, our dear friend and occasional “5” contributor Greg Casseus is a man with an ear to the ground and all around, and has just turned us on to what just might be Taylor’s final release. The Lost Album is a departure from Taylor’s signature neo-soul and in fact an exercise in classic power pop, reminiscent at times of the likes of Todd Rundgren and Brian Wilson, with a hint of the slick L.A. pop-prog turned soft rock quartet Ambrosia. Regardless of the new sound, the man’s reputation for brilliance lingers on with this release, which also dabbles in psychedelia and acoustic balladry. We'll be the first to admit that clich├ęd terms like "ear candy" and "classic '70s AM radio" have been both used to death to describe this kind of music, but it is so appropriate in this case, that we feel absolutely no guilt in hauling them out to describe The Lost Album. Seriously.

Whether or not this is a new direction for Taylor’s music remains to be seen—he is rumored to have retired from the solo career and was most recently spotted as live bassist for Gnarls Barkley—but both Stoned and The Lost Album are great introductions to the music of this multi-talented marvel and proof positive of the fickle nature of destiny. In a just world—or alternate universe—Lewis Taylor would not only be at the top of the charts but also influencing a new generation of upstarts. At least we have his music.

Highlights: This one is packed with gems, but a special mention must be given to "Listen Here", "Hide Your Heart Away", "The Leader of the Band", "Please Help Me If You Can", and "Let's Hope Nobody Finds Us".

2 comments:

seemyway said...

The original Lost Album
http://www.google.com/musicl?lid=W-0wmYxDalF&aid=c9xpdUoGoJF
was the real deal.

Kiko Jones said...

Indeed. But the one we reviewed has bonus tracks.