Author: Michele Yamamoto
8/18/11 | Under The Radar | www.undertheradarmag.com | Record Review
From her beginnings in Azure Ray, as one fragile half of a whole, Maria Taylor's musical output has always seemed guarded. Her voice always felt, on some fundamental level, whispered. Yet, her talent for emotive, sticking melodies kept most of her previous work from feeling tired.With Overlook, Taylor comes across emboldened?relatively speaking, of course?and freshly inspired. The album shares roots in even-keeled indie rock, country, and folk and Taylor's voice adapts gently to each. Overlook never quite stays in one place?moving from such steady-building tracks as "Matador," which incorporates earthy harmonies to support punctuated vocal lines, across the mellow folk-island jig "Bad Idea?," and ending on a more familiar note with the understated "Along for the Ride."Unfortunately, it also never quite grows. The opening few tracks hold energy and movement that seem to whither as the album unfolds. "In a Bad Way" briefly injects life with attitude and an unexpected guitar solo (rawk), but by this point, it's all winding to a close. While Taylor's voice is more adventurous than ever, it seems that the music hasn't quite caught up.