First time vinyl issue. Lost soul phenomenon Lewis Taylor's Numb finally arrives on double vinyl. One of UK soul's most fascinating artists, most enigmatic figures and most under-appreciated talents, Andrew Lewis Taylor is a prodigious multi-instrumentalist and eclectic polymath. Numb is Taylor's sixth album, initially released on his own label Slow Reality (an anagram of his name) and licensed to Be With for this physical edition.
Lewis wrote and recorded these ten brand new tracks after a 17-year break from making music, although the album came together over a two-year period. Numb marks a return to the darker, more mysterious side of his output: "Brian Wilson-channels-Smokey Robinson atmospheres," as Mojo put it recently. In June 2021, news emerged out of the blue that he was readying new music alongside Sabina Smyth with whom he had worked first time around.
On Numb, Lewis deftly balances stark, soul-bearing lyrics with moody mid-tempo pop-soul sheen. He deals candidly with depression, mental turmoil, even thoughts of suicide -- clearly more personal than Taylor's earlier songs. The music is rich, warm, and layered, with infectious melodies and hooks that stick with you. Triumphant dubwise horns ring out yet, almost instantly, "Final Hour" takes on a dark, downbeat vibe. Woven around delicate yet insistent piano and subtle strings over a killer bassline, the title track "Numb" is a good example of the lyrical themes throughout the album. "Feels So Good" is sophisticated '90s-sounding soul of the highest order. The music and vocals feel simultaneously optimistic and despondent. "Apathy" is a mini-epic, a symphonic-soul gem which builds and glides and, eventually, soars. "Worried Mind" is another slow-builder, creeping out the gate in a sketchy, discordant fashion before climbing to half-crescendo but never quite breaking free of its disorientating restraint. The brighter "Please" presents a more hopeful mood. "Brave Heart" quietly struts from step one, as Lewis's falsetto swaggers over a downtempo backdrop with ace echoey drums, beautiful strings and serene electric guitar. "Is It Cool" answers its own (non-) question with a spellbinding deep soul that oscillates between a restrained, barely-there backdrop and a lushly full musical accompaniment of acoustic and electric guitar and organ over bass and slick drums. "Nearer" is a magical, soul-stirring ballad in which Lewis sings of reaching a sweet salvation and achieving a peace of mind. "Being Broken" places Lewis's gorgeous voice high in the mix and the wordless falsetto and melodies invite you to ponder what Pet Sounds might sound like if it were refashioned as a dubby 21st century electronic soul album. Mastered by Simon Francis. Cut by Cicely Balston at Air Studios and pressed at Record Industry.
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