Saddle Creek | Maria Taylor | Reviews



Author: Jeff McCrary
07/11/2005 | Austiin American Statesmem XL | | Album Review
First things first: I adore female singer-songwriters. From Aimee Mann to Fiona Apple, they have an endearing combination of sensuality, passion and wit that can practically keep you wrapped around their little fingers. So it was no surprise that I automatically developed a crush on Maria Taylor almost immediately. Before her debut album, "11:11," she was just either another backup singer or a singer showing creative sidekick restraint with the likes of Azure Ray, Conor Oberst, the Faint, Ben Lee, Har Mar Superstar and Crooked. Now, in the spirit of independence, Taylor has decided to ditch her partners and do her own thing.

Touring on the release of "11:11," she made a stop last week at the Parish to give the patrons a melodramatic awakening. With a voice as serene as Mann's yet as sharply polished as Apple's, Taylor had a lot to express about love and relationships in her own crafty way. On her album she sounds like a moody pushover that easily can be ignored. In concert, however, she was far more powerful and persuasive. Perhaps it was her band, which included sister Kate Taylor on the keyboards and guitarist Mike Mogis, who seemed to favor his guitar strings in the spirit of the Cure especially the highest two.

With the four members behind her, the seemingly vulnerable Taylor now had a shell on her back and was able to turn "Xanax" and "Song Beneath the Song" from more than just a melodic shoulder shrug into verbose progressive rock. Yet the poetic tenderness was not lost in the jam Taylor found her voice and matched her band although she sounded like a different singer altogether. "Speak Easy" paid a catchy midnight homage to Patsy Cline while "Hitched" and "Nature Song" exposed Maria Taylor's sensitive side, which is exactly what she left us with.


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