Alexis Taylor

Beautiful Thing

Domino

Apr 20, 2018 Issue #63 - Courtney Barnett Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

Some artists use solo albums to experiment outside the day job while others cut the background noise. The latter is the case for Hot Chip founders Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard, who, separated from each other, double down on what they each individually bring to the band.

2017 saw them both prove this. Goddard's first solo LP offered a collection of hip-shaking dance hits. Taylor, always the emotive heart of one of Britain's finer musical exports of recent years, went back to basics and beyond for Listen With(out) Piano, an experimental accompaniment to 2016's Piano.

Beautiful Thing has been billed as more expansive than Listen With(out) Piano, but just about anything could count as more expansive than that somnolent effort.

Where that was an asset stripping experiment gone too far, Taylor claws his way back to safer ground here. Which is not to say Beautiful Thing is going to explode into life like a Hot Chip record. There's no "Ready for the Floor," or "Shake a Fist," or "Over and Over," or anything like them really, with the almost-exception of "Oh Baby."

What we have instead is a more chilled version of "One Life Stand" Hot Chip: evenly paced, reflective, relaxing somewhere at the intersection between pop, electro, and R&B.

It's solid enough, although for all the fluttery effects swirling in the background of tracks like "Dreaming Another Life" or "Roll on Blank Tapes," it's hard to escape the feeling of a man singing ballads to himself.

Taylor does keep an ace or two up his sleeve. He's an emotional songwriter grappling with emotion. On the achingly good "Deep Cut," he comes with the message "don't get caught up in what's not real." Beautiful Thing isn't the flashiest, and it sags along the way, but it comes with enough soul to carry the quiet moments. (www.alexistaylorsolo.com)

Author rating: 6/10

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