Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Album Review: Maria Taylor - Overlook

Maria Taylor’s Overlook is an album that will easily get lost in the shuffle. As a whole, there is little that stands out, good or bad, to make it memorable, but there are some moments that come close.

Overlook starts out promising with “Masterplan” and “Matador” both of which combine darker rock tones with brighter folk and dance rhythms two of the more ear-catching songs on the record. “Masterplan” builds nicely, but “Matador” could do with some more variation in the dynamics to help keep the repetitive rhythms fresh.

“Happenstance” is a gorgeous song that, partially thanks to its position on the record, stands out the most among the slower songs. It comes before the listener is overdosed with shimmering, melodramatic songs like “Idle Mind” and “This Could Last a Lifetime,” but it also has the best melody of the bunch.

Right in the middle of Overlook is the jaunty “Bad Idea,” which is easily the best song on the album. This string band piece features some wonderful harmonies and joyful string playing. Taylor sounds like she’s having fun and the listener can feel it.

In fact “Bad Idea” is so much better than the rest of Overlook it makes me wonder why Taylor didn’t include more purely Americana songs on the album. Her attempts at modern rock, southern rock and ballads are fine, but they feel hollow in comparison.

Overlook may get overlooked, but I hope Taylor begins to put out more roots music because it’s clear her talent lends itself well to string music with some twang.

Overlook will be released August 16 on Saddle Creek Records.

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