9/1/11 | The Fire Note | www.thefirenote.blogspot.com | Record Review
I have always thought that Maria Taylor would eventually strike the right note and really break out as a solo artist with her solid voice and indie veteran status with Azure Ray, Now It's Overhead and many collaborations with Bright Eyes. Now on her fourth LP, Overlook is a collection of songs developed after leaving LA for a return home of Southern living in Birmingham, Alabama. It represents the first time Taylor has self-produced her album, while having friend Lester Nuby III (Vulture Whale, Verbena) engineer Overlook. As expected, Taylor also recruits some talented musicians to help her out, such as Browan Lollar (Jason Isbell & 400 Unit) on lead guitar throughout and her brother Macey Taylor (Mystic Valley Band) playing bass, banjo, organ and keys while having herself play most of the drum tracks. This creates a very organic vibe to Overlook and fits her voice with the first two tracks "Masterplan" and "Matador" starting off the record very strong, as the later and best track on the album, is funky and fun with its jagged guitar and catchy attitude in Taylor's voice. Unfortunately, the rest of Overlook fails to rise up to this creativeness and does not differentiate itself enough from the female singer/songwriter genre. Some of this struggle is in the flow of the record, while other songs seem to end with unfinished ideas. I have no doubt that Maria Taylor still has that stellar album in her but this time around Overlook never meets its potential.Key Tracks: "Matador", "In A Bad Way", "Masterplan"Bands With Similar Fire:Beth OrtonCat PowerKate BushFire Note Says: Fourth LP from Maria Taylor has its moments.