14 Dec 2015

Sean Taylor: The Only Good Addiction Is Love

I confess. These are not the usual words that The Hat would normally find himself writing into an album review but here goes...
This is one of the most beautiful, delicate and aesthetically interesting albums I have listened to for a long time. Sean Taylor, with 'The Only Good Addiction is Love' has produced a wonderful and carefully crafted commentary on the vicissitudes of love, full of subtle lyrics, literary and musical references and arrangements that combine to produce an extraordinarily atmospheric and romantic album. This is one that any lover, ex-lover, even would-be lover would want to have on their shelves.

Delightfully, he calls on 'poets and dreamers' to join him in his blues tinged reverie, variously calling up, amongst others, the spirits of Keruac, Lorca, Rothko, Klee and finally, the poet Yeats as he (taking you with him) tries to come to grips with his 'addiction'.You are taken from the title track, where we know we all stand up together and admit to our addiction, through the various nuances of love – red roses, fear, the stars, midnight kisses, the feel of flesh, the togetherness of mind - even pausing to add a beautiful sentimental spanish instrumental - to the final 'Rouges et Noir' where the tough truth of the extremes of love are laid bare – pain and passion, the Red and the Black. 'Flesh and Mind' will break your heart and its track neighbour 'We Can Burn' will have you straight back into the mists of previous love. There is not a weak track here. His voice and powerful lyricism remind you of that smart troubadour skill that the early John Martyn had of putting his finger on a nerve and not letting go or the anxious Jeff Buckley looking for answers.

Sean's guitar work is complimentary to everything, sometimes sparse, always skillful - and bringing into play to huge effect, some masterly support musicians, the album, even without the evocative word poetry, would be a terrific listen. However, the regular use of a wistful and weeping violin and some over-tracked electric and acoustic guitar, occasional keys, bass, drums and backing vocals meld together like a Lovers Banquet Of Sound. The arrangements with these high class musicians leave Sean's gentle romantic voice all the room he needs to whisper in our ear. Absolutely Magical.

If you ever hankered after writing a love poem and couldn't do it, don't worry, this will get a lot of air play...But...better still...go out and bulk-buy this superb album and then send a copy to everyone still in your heart and all those that you would like to remember you kindly. Tell them The Hat made you do it.  Released this week.