After 18 solid years of honing the singular and eclectic sound that encompasses the band Hot Chip, Alexis Taylor debuted his forthcoming solo album, Beautiful Thing. Despite expending his creativity on the indie electronic band as well as his experimental rock project, About Group, Taylor proves his flair for the experimental is unwavering.
The album is a true showcase of Taylor’s remarkable knack for exploring the deepest realms of sound. With six Hot Chip albums and three solo albums, Taylor establishes his refined sound with each release. After almost two decades of making music, becoming stale is definitely not in the cards for Taylor.
Comprised of ten equally striking tracks, Beautiful Thing is representative of everything Taylor has learned in his many years of exploring and cultivating his sound. The album’s feel is faintly evocative of the electro-pop Hot Chip offers, yet is entirely his own as his falsetto resounds throughout, yearning and placating.
Album opener, “Dreaming Another Life,” sets the stage for a deeply personal meandering of sorts. Taylor drifts here and there, merely acting as a vessel for his artistic tendencies. The lyrics are intricate and earnest, evoking far more than his previous work.
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The slower, more downtempo tracks err on the side of caution. “Deep Cut,” “Roll on Blank Tapes” and “A Hit Song” are methodical and self-assured. Still, Taylor’s distinct vocals are haunting as they echo over a slow piano.
While tracks like “Oh Baby” feel improvisational as Taylor’s vocals rush past, almost hasty. “Suspicious of Me” embodies Taylor’s roots in Hot Chip, as it seems reminiscent of the same electronic intricacies definitive of their 2006 album, The Warning.
Elsewhere, “I Feel You,” is a personal favorite. The track feels like it could belong on Taylor’s 2016 solo album The Piano, but is lighter with a bass backtrack.
The album closes with “Out of Time,” which might be an all too literal sense of existential dread that Taylor etches into every memory. As his vocals are hardly apparent, Taylor bares his soul. Yet it’s an extremely well-chosen track to end on, as it trails off as if incomplete, almost preparing for another solo album.
This album is — dare I say — such a beautiful one. It is intimate and honest — clearly a manifestation of what Taylor has spurred inside himself for quite some time. While having released an extensive amount of music thus far, Taylor presents skill and experience that is cumulative to each new release. He continues to create music that is structurally and artistically sound, simultaneously familiar and novel.
Beautiful Thing is out April 20 via Domino Records.