New solo business from voice-of-Hot Chip Mr Alexis Taylor! While his solo work in the past has often tended towards quiet intimacy (such as the self-explanatory Piano), fourth solo record Beautiful Thing, which was produced with UNKLE man Tim Goldsworthy, has plenty of big dancefloor pop heft to it, as well as the ever-intriguing Alexis touch. On Domino.
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You really have to hand it to him. Alexis Taylor really has some chutzpah. His last album was a disc of him singing solo piano songs endlessly whilst he managed to ingratiate himself with Charles Hayward resulting in the About Group's blot on the latter's otherwise impeccable copybook. Last year he was seen doing six hour DJ sets in memory of Prince and also pitting his pitiful whinny alongside the golden throat of Green Gartside in a series of live shows.
Here he gets back to what I would say he did best if he actually ever did it well in the first place which is electronic pop. Although there's some daring sounds in opener 'Dreaming Another Life' it somehow makes electro-pop as fulfilling as sitting doing to do your accounts. He sounds as bored as I do when trying to figure out spreadsheets. 'Beautiful Thing' is better due to some pretty nifty Italo piano house stabs which help bring the album out of it's stupor.
Weirdly seeing as though I was bored to tears by his 'Piano' album, the thing I'm enjoying most here is slo-mo synth plodder 'Deep Cut' which has Taylor in weeping ballad mode and is probably the most emotional thing I've heard him do. This tear-drenched feel continues into 'Roll On Blank Tapes' which musically I'm quite enjoying though it does sound like Taylor is reading lyrics he's found on things lying around the studio.
Compared to previous work, 'Beautiful Thing' is sonically adventurous with lots of booming electronica and splices which at least have the effect of waking me up from the ballads he insists on sending me to sleep with. He veers into Brian Eno in pop mode in 'Oh Baby' which a pretty nice slab of glam synth racket and it's this track that leads me to a fearful thought...... What if Taylor is a future Brian Eno or Robert Wyatt and I've just misjudged him this whole time? 'Beautiful Thing' is the closest of his work to convince me that there is a point to Alexis Taylor being on Earth but at the end of the day it's just a solo album by the guy from Hot Chip that is occasionally inspired, often tedious.
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