Lewis Taylor

The Lost Album

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A first spin of The Lost Album can get you to wondering if what you've just heard has any relation to soul, the sound on which the enigmatic British crooner Lewis Taylor has built his next-big-thing reputation. In a dozen songs, he drifts from the ringing guitars of classic '70s rock ("Hide Your Heart Away," "Send Me an Angel") to the warm textures and brilliant atmospherics of a classic "Brian Wilson" composition ("Let's Hope Nobody Finds Us") to a couple of vaguely Beatlesque songs ("Say I Love You" and "New Morning"). Along the way, he manages to conjure up Laura Nyro, Todd Rundgren, and Syd Barrett, too -- no small feat for a guy who was once supposed to be the next Al Green. That soul courses through Lewis Taylor's blood is something no one who's spent time with Stoned, a later Taylor record that was released in the U.S. prior to The Lost Album, could reasonably doubt. He's just chosen to filter it here, and in lesser hands that could have been a major disappointment. Instead it only adds to his mystery man appeal: something in the loose knit of the songs feels like an invitation -- his vocal delivery is more sweet suggestion than bold pronouncement, and his music follows suit. It's a warm puddle of a disc, moist with possibilities and deep, fresh imprints on well-loved, accessible sounds. Lewis Taylor probably doesn't mean to play genre roulette with his listeners -- more straight-up soul, for all we know, could be on the way -- but The Lost Album demonstrates pretty clearly that it's safe to plunk your money down when he does step up to the wheel.

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