Alexis Taylor - 'Await Barbarians'

7/10

While best known as the frontman to one of the UK's most forward-thinking musical outfits Hot Chip, Alexis Taylor proved himself to be an incredibly versatile musician in his own right on his first solo album 'Rubbed Out' back in 2008. But with six years passed since then, the producer and songwriter has delivered 'Await Barbarians', a far more minimal and earthy album which lets the electronics sit in the background and allows his true instrumental talent to shine through.

While Taylor's distinct voice is what most Hot Chip fans will find similar, this new album takes his multi-layered direction of songwriting and turns it onto a far wider spectrum of musical influences. The result becomes a wistful and sometimes experimental full-length that helps the protagonist express a much greater range of his musical capabilities and deliver a record that is so hard to pin down in one place. As it starts, you feel that this could become an electronic acoustic album as the opener and sophomore track 'Lazy Bones' and 'From The Halfway Line' introduce you to this haunting yet captivating pace that seems to intertwine with awkward perfection. But as it goes on, you feel that Taylor is on a mission of self-discovery all of his own. Each track seems influentially and spiritually different to the one that came before and thus gives the impression of a blues musician just riffing with the listener and letting whatever he feels spill out onto the record.

It's lack of deliberate structure is what makes this record such a delight to listen. Each song is its own surprise and journey of discovery for both Alexis and listener alike, and that alone makes for a very spontaneous and vibrate album.

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