A spotlight can show a lot about a person. Over the course of her career Maria Taylor has been, arguably, the driving force behind both the bands Azure Ray and Now It's Overhead, as well as lending her talents to various other artists including Crooked Fingers and Moby. Despite gaining moderate recognition for her work with groups, Taylor's delicate style has always been accompanied, or combined, with the writing talents of others. Her solo effort, 11:11, marks the first time we see Taylor left by herself to explore life on Saddle Creek Records.
Fitting comfortably between my copies of Bright Eyes' Lifted and The Postal Service's Give Up, 11:11 borrows ideas from the better parts of Taylor's past, as well as encompassing the familiar sounds of her label mates. The single " Song Beneath a Song" carriers a simple, but effective, tune using three chord guitar melodies backed with light bass. Alternately the track "One for the Shareholder", easily compared to Oberst's "Lover I Don't Have to Love", has a digital aesthetic, though is conducted much better than Bright Eye's Digital Ash in a Digital Urn. The two songs set the tone for the album and we see little variance from those basic structures.
In typical fashion of the Saddle Creek label 11:11 is lyrically outstanding. Taylor has an amazing gift with words, dealing with the overused subject matters of love, heartbreak, and alcohol without sounding trite. Her frequent use of imagery, as well as a keen knack for storytelling, creates a vivid collection of tracks; which would easily serve as background music for a sequel to Garden State.
11:11 has a number of heart warming, cute, well written songs. Unfortunately the basic formula for these been drawn out eleven times to make up an album. As is the case with the Azure Ray albums; upon first listen they are initially endearing, but on repeat plays I was often found skipping tracks.
For a person who is not normally a fan of female singers, I was completely captivated by this record. Though perhaps not the most innovative release of the year, Taylor has branched slightly from her previous efforts, showing that she doesn't need group support to be successful.
8.2 / 10
Maria Taylor has developed a fanbase based on her quiet and soulful tunes, endearing and charming enough to cockle the heartstrings of nearly any cynic. She has a knack for ...
Posted June 30, 2004, 9:23 p.m.
Philly area emo-core upstarts Sometime In April are currently touring up and down the Right Coast. Check below to see when they'll be in your neck of the woods ...
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