Alexis Taylor – Beautiful Thing
Drawing from a number of influences, Beautiful Thing is a wondrous optimistic float through space
There’s a lot that’s otherworldly about Alexis Taylor’s fourth solo album Beautiful Thing. The Hot Chip back catalogue has a nice line in melody and Taylor’s solo albums with their delicate arrangements; Beautiful Thing, though, is more of a straightforward float through space, with a starry, galactic feel to the album.
Opener Dreaming Another Life has a gorgeous wobble and a nicely Kid A-ish discordant feel. Deep Cut sounds like Behaviour-era Pet Shop Boys although it’s laced with extra-delicate vocals, a reminder that a fragile male voice can often carry a tune nicely (see also Gerry Love). The lines 'What you need is a new key / Something to set your mind free' are a welcome bit of musical therapy.
The whole album orbits around the lovely, hymnal A Hit Song, while following track Oh Baby has a striking, Beatles-y melody. Less spectral and spacey is Suspicious of Me, where Taylor heads down the disco with his big boy boots on.
There’s an overall optimism about Beautiful Thing. The album is about our only too human false starts, where they got us and how to avoid them. There’s Nothing to Hide is a twinkling, musical equivalent of a journey through the stars. And on last track Out of Time, Taylor waves us gently goodbye and returns to his own planet. Let’s hope he’ll visit us again soon.
Listen to: A Hit Song, Beautiful Thing