Monday, January 16, 2017
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: JULIAN TAYLOR BAND - DESERT STAR
After 2015's delightful soul workout Tech Noir, Taylor returns with this bigger, funkier and wide-ranging collection. A sprawling, 22-cut set spread over a double album (or one CD, but it comes in at 77 minutes), it's actually four individual sessions (one on each side, natch), some of which first appeared earlier in 2016. And while there were certain differences in how the cuts were laid down, it all comes together in a hugely successful release.
Taylor is both a lively rocker and a soaring ballad singer, with the killer Take Me (Stay) highlighting his sweet side. While that number is smooth, Glass House is stripped back to just acoustic, and still drips with passion. With this much length to play with, Taylor also has lots of room to take off and soar, with cuts such as Just A Little Bit, Bobbi Champagne and Desert Star harder-edged and lots of fun.
Leading off side three is the brilliant Coke Bottle Candy, where Taylor unleashes a mighty falsetto over verses taken at a funky reggae pace. Grooves highlight the other cuts on the side, the most modern R'n'B of the album. Side four comes crashing in with the extremely groovy Fever, a dance floor-filler if there was ever one, and the entire last quarter is a party, including the crunching rock of closers Never Too Late and In My Life. There's not a loser among the 22 songs, from a terrific Toronto group.