Album Review: Hudson Taylor – Singing for Strangers

By on Thursday, 23rd April 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Hudson Taylor Singing for Strangers album coverBrothers Harry and Alfie Hudson Taylor picked up their craft from a young age, busking on the streets of their hometown of Dublin. With that experience in mind, along with the success they’ve since had across the UK and Europe, the pair’s debut album ‘Singing for Strangers’ has managed to capture their endearing presence and disarmingly beautiful folk-pop.

Amidst their young years, their warming collection of handclaps and triumphant harmonies exude a charming maturity, first highlighted by ‘Just a Thought’. A racing piano melody and rousing choruses keep their opener light and bouncy, leaving it all too easy to draw comparisons with fellow Irish gents, Kodaline. The same goes for the blissful hooks and anthemic choruses of ‘Chasing Rubies’ and ‘World Without You’. However, the duo can, and do play the aces up their sleeves.

On ‘Butterflies’ they produce a resplendent folk ballad, a gorgeous arrangement of genteel acoustic guitar chords and yearning lyrics. It gives you the first notion of how versatile their sound can be: it’s timeless if you wish to coin the cliché, but there’s a sense of honesty and growing confidence through the record. “Wish I could have told her I’m freaking out” and “when I broke into her heart, I threw away the key” cry the vocals on ‘Night Before the Morning After’; by the time you reach ‘Weapons’ however, they’re shouting out to shed any secrets and “put down your weapons”.

From this confidence comes the blistering Americana inspired ‘Battles’. They’ve found a different pool of influences, channelling fiery folk this time, as their love story transpires and burns vehemently. “We are tied to the truth….the tie that binds me to you” they spout with fierce delivery, as they do battle with your emotions in the album’s closing stages.

Their call to arms is followed by another burst of personal defiance, as the tempo-shifting, blues inflected ‘Don’t Tell Me’ carries similar gusto. It feels a little repetitive and relentless, but nonetheless they manage to create some impact; it’s not as punchy as the track’s predecessor, but it’s got all the right intentions, even if it doesn’t have the same vigour and lunging refrains. ‘For the Last Time’ and ‘Off the Hook’ go on to highlight their stripped-back heritage; it’s something of a sobering and delicate come down after the radio friendly first half of the album.

In all, Hudson Taylor’s debut is a brief moment to sit back, mull over their many EPs and think “well, aren’t these chaps going to be about for a long time”. The production of their songs has become more elaborate and grandiose, but, the songs remain straightforward and heartfelt. Though it is not a re-education of folk music, nonetheless it’s an incredibly enjoyable explanation of where modern folk has got too; and in a number of places, where it’s heading too.

7/10

‘Singing for Strangers’, the debut from Irish brothers Hudson Taylor, is out now via Polydor Records.

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