Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Maria Taylor - 11:11

ARTIST Maria Taylor
ALBUM 11:11
LABEL Saddle Creek
RELEASE May 24th 2005

Maria Taylor has decided to be herself. She appears on so many records (Moby’s 18, numerous Bright Eyes releases, The Bruces’ Shining Path,) that she’s long overdue a record all to herself. Predictibly she brings her friends in. 11:11 features an all-star cast of Cursive’s Gretta Cohn, Now It’s Overhead’s Andy LeMaster, Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis..

Maria’s sings effortlessly. Her breathy, unwavering, seducing voice is the steady force throughout the record. It’s both a curse and a blessing. Sometimes I wish she’d get more excited and shout something, but then she doesn’t scream her angst or snarl her problems. She doesn't warble melismas with the glut of high-strung chart divas. Her appeal is in her grace and understated subtlety.

It evokes comparisons to Gemma Hayes, Carole King, Emmylou Harris and Gillian Welch in her approach to acoustic folk. Mid-way through the record she forays into electronic pop, an experiment that thankfully is not repeated. 11:11 is a grower; it sounds a bit like the car radio as you fall asleep in the back. If you don’t pay attention it’ll pass you by, and you’ll miss what’s great. Initially the songs may sound the same, but don’t be fooled. Given some time, love and attention 11:11 will let down its guard and invite you in.

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