# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Maria Taylor - Overlook

  by Lisa Torem

published: 11 / 10 / 2011

Maria Taylor - Overlook
Label: Affairs of the Heart
Format: CD


Poignant and offbeat fourth solo album from Alabama-based singer-songwriter and one time Azure Ray member, Maria Taylor

Singer-songwriter Maria Taylor’s foray into performance as half of Azure Ray – Orenda Fink completed the duo – equipped the Alabama-bred artist to sing and co-write innocent love songs. During their collaboration, they also worked with Moby. After Taylor went solo in 2005, she released a trilogy of warm, confessional works every couple of years; '11:1, 'Lynn Teeter Flower' and 'LadyLuck' which featured REM’s Michael Stipe. At the time of her last recording, in 2009, she had experienced the loneliness of relocating upon moving to LA and she had also survived a major break-up. ‘LadyLuck’ contained beautiful melodies and Taylor’s golden tones, but it rarely strayed from the straight and narrow. In contrast, ‘Overlook’ bowls us over with ingenuity. Her voice, still crystal clear and expressive, shades her writing more poignantly than before and her themes and style have developed in more diverse directions. In addition, ‘Overlook’ takes Taylor back home in the best of all possible ways. The album includes assistance from friends and family members, and local artist Margarette Simmons designed the beautiful cover, which recalls ‘Little Earthquakes’, Tori Amos’s most revealing work. ‘Masterplan’ juxtaposes Taylor’s sonic ache with rubato percussion. The slow, emotional build underscores her earnest request for romantic fulfillment. “Can a heart crumble while devotion stands?” A contrasting synth solo, shared by Maria and brother Macey, decountrifies the tune, giving it a contemporary edge. My personal favorite, ‘Matador’ comes alive with xylophone and grinding electric guitar by Browan Lollar. Sister Kate adds body to strong lines like: “So he’s got a new kill/He comes back for more.” More expressive writing touches us; “Show me where to go/Cut through vines and powdered snow” drift along in ‘Happenstance.’ She weaves the rock solid imagery together by reminding us that it occurs “on this cold night in Alabama.” 'Like It Does’ would be a standard ABA ballad except that Taylor alludes to a more cerebral state-of-mind: “You can’t blame the mind for dreaming like it does…” ‘Bad Idea?’ is an old-timey sweetheart of a song. “Come on by, the door’s always open/You can smoke in any room.” There’s a touch of early Maria Muldaur jugband here. ‘Idle Mind’ takes us back to that perplexing frame of mind that Taylor struggles with: “Tell me what I’m waiting for/Signal if I’m getting warm,” she urges. Like many of the other numbers, it is perfectly unproduced. Taylor’s barely-under-a-whisper dynamic is haunting. ‘In a Bad Way’ has more of a PJ Harvey/Amos rocker feel. It provides a needed interlude, though – because we need to wind down for ‘This Could Last a Lifetime.’ “I’ve been waiting at the Greyhound Station/I’ve been trying to find someone like you, but I never do.” Then we hear the other side: “You’ve been trying to believe someone after all the things she did to you – I’ve been there, too.” This fair and square epiphany is dreamy, hopeful, yet tinged with sadness. Miraculously, Taylor’s voice can convey those varied emotions with perfection. ‘Along For the Ride’ is the shortest of the bunch and the closer. While it veers into an ethereal, instrumental mode, it also sums up the overriding theme in 'Overlook'.' Love alters our perceptions whether we simply act as observers or fully participate. Maria Taylor has clearly experienced both…

Track Listing:-
1 Masterplan
2 Matador
3 Happenstance
4 Like It Does
5 Bad Idea?
6 Idle Mind
7 In A Bad Way
8 This Coould Take A Lifetime
9 Along For The Ride

Band Links:-

Label Links:-

Post A Comment

your name
ie London, UK
Check box to submit

digital downloads



Something about Knowing (2013)
Fantastically optimistic sixth solo album from highly acclaimed Azure Ray co-front woman and American-based singer-songwriter, Maria Taylor
11 : 11 (2005)

most viewed articles

most viewed reviews

Pennyblackmusic Regular Contributors