Reviews: Taylor – Gemma (single)

So there’s Swift, Lautner, and, for those who managed to survive the sugary pop of the 90s, Hanson. However, there is a new Taylor in our midst. Hailing from the Gold Coast, this folky six-piece comprises songwriter, guitarist and vocalist David Taylor, bassist Crick Beau, and two founding members of ARIA award-winning band George: guitarist Nick Stewart and the man behind the kit, Geoff Green. Scott French thickens the musical soup with Mandolin, Ukulele, Trumpet and Melodica, while Johanne Fossheim’s lovely backing vocals offer a contrast to David’s growly, unashamed tones.

In anticipation of the release of their 12-track debut ‘Warmer’, produced by Govinda Doyle, Taylor has made available their lead single ‘Gemma’, complimented by a second track entitled ‘Remember’. Listing influences including Nick Drake, Tom Waits, Neil Young, Dave Matthews, Angus and Julia Stone, The Beatles, and Pink Floyd, I was naturally curious to see what this band had to offer.

‘Gemma’, which runs for 4 minutes, would be a much better song if it was about half this length. During my first listen, I liked what I was hearing. It wasn’t original, but it was clearly Australian-made, and listenable. Unfortunately, at around the halfway point, a surging musical build-up demanded my attention, only to abandon me at a dead end and return to the initial tone that had been established. This song doesn’t appear to know exactly what its intentions are and consequently makes for a confusing listening experience. It expresses an emotional narrative, but fails to do so in a coherent way – managing to remind me of the vocal twang of Bowie at one point and the broken hearted wails of Evanescence at another! It is, essentially, anti-climactic. However, for a piece of music that could have been enjoyable without providing any climax at all, it’s clear that salvation is still possible for Gemma, and for Taylor.

‘Remember’ was more coherently structured and pretty catchy. It’s a good sign when you are able to sing along during a first listen. On the flipside, it also evokes the sense that you’ve probably heard something just like it before. In my opinion, ‘Remember’ should have been the lead single as it seems to contain wider appeal, driven by a pop sensibility that just wasn’t detectable in ‘Gemma’.

Based on this release, it appears that Taylor may not have completely refined their sound, but there is certainly something in there worth discovering. Less experimentation and a more clearly defined and consistent writing style could lead to lovely, low-key, and proudly Australian music. ‘Remember’ was pretty good, but Gemma was considerably less… memorable. If you like folk that isn’t afraid to try something new, regardless of the risk of causing confusion, don’t rule these guys out. While ‘Warmer’ might have potential, these singles left me somewhat cold.

2.5/5


review by Julia Cooke

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