Saturday, October 18, 2014

Album Review: J.Bird Taylor – The EP (2014)

Wellington artist J.Bird Taylor certainly can't be faulted for any lack of commitment, drive, or passion. Taylor’s been around the traps for more than a decade now, having released two previous EP-length albums, touring regularly, and fronting various bands as a lead vocalist. Yet she’s never really broken through or crossed the mainstream radar to any great extent. But her drive and her passion compel her to keep fronting up, and she’s back again, pushing the boundaries on release number three, a mini-album simply called The EP.

The release consists of seven tracks on one disc, plus an additional four-clip DVD containing some older video material. As a package it’s professional and impressive, with each disc showcasing Taylor’s unique take on 80’s-inspired theatrical rock. Some of this is experimental and almost genre-less, with shades of Nina Hagen at one end of the spectrum, and rather more low key or conventional acoustic forms at the other.

The EP probably won’t appeal to everyone, and some of the production feels as though its not all it could be, with Taylor’s vocal seemingly a little lost in the mix at times. A few of these tracks would definitely translate a lot better in a live setting, and the clips highlighted on the DVD would tend to confirm as much. Taylor’s art at its best is clearly just as much about the visual as it is about the aural, and as a two-disc set, The EP provides for a good overview of her talents.

(an edited version of this review appeared in the August/September edition of NZ Musician magazine)

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