The first time Maria Taylors graceful voice was heard through our speakers, we knew it was love at first listen. On Azure Rays 2001 debut, she sang with a knowledge and a weariness that made us trust and believe her words, fragile tones fragmented through soft acoustic strumming and velvety textures. Skip forward four short years later to when Maria set off on her own for a while, resulting in the stunning solo album called 11:11. A critical smash that wrapped her now-familiar voice in everything from acoustic folk to electronic dream pop, the album established Maria as a master storyteller with a flare for perfect, harmony-soaked melodies.To follow up a stunning debut, Maria has put together another glimmering collection of songs in the shape of her second solo record, Lynn Teeter Flower.
The songs for Lynn Teeter Flower, an album named after a family friend in Marias native Birmingham, Alabama, were written in between tours for 11:11.The collection reveals a woman settling very well into her role as a solo artist, peeling back some of the layers of the last album to reveal a more organic sound, one that resembled the hundreds of shows she had done all over the globe in support of 11:11over the course of the last year. She began her new recording sessions with Spoons drummer Jim Eno in Austin, hopped over to Athens to record four more tracks with Now Its Overheads Andy LeMaster (who worked on 11:11), and then ended up in Memphis to work with Doug Easley (Cat Power, Pavement). The record sees contributions from Marias brother and sister — bassist Macey Taylor and keyboardist Kate Taylor, both of whom played in her live band, as well as Bright Eyes Conor Oberst, who co-wrote and sings on The Ballad of Sean Foley.
With Lynn Teeter Flower, Maria Taylor is taking her songcraft to new heights, mixing together soaring guitars, bubbly electronics, feathery farfisa organs and sugary layers of vocals into the sweetest confection of an album youll hear all year. Opener A Good Start is propelled by a vicious groove, setting the tone for an album more influenced by rhythm, very possibly the result of one of Marias favorite hobbies: playing the drums.Smile and Waveweaves a bed of Strawberry Fieldsesque mellotron with ribbons of Marias rich voice, while My Own Fault strips every- thing down to a sparse drum machine, a dry electric guitar and a seasick organ mingling with Marias lament. Irish Goodbye picks up where 11:11s One for the Stockholder left off, dancing in a place where acoustic guitars mix effortlessly with a crisp electronic beat, and LostTime,with its lone acoustic guitar, melancholy piano and plaintive vocal, reminds us of some of the moments that made us entranced by Maria Taylor in the first place: a voice as smooth and sweet as honey spinning marvellous, insightful tales of the world around us with much aplomb. As far as were concerned, thats certainly something worth falling for.
9th Brighton The Hope
10th London Metro
12th Manchester The Phoenix
13th Glasgow Nice n Sleazy
14th Newcastle The Cumberland Arms