Monday, 8 August 2016

SON OF SIMON – ALBUM REVIEW

Son of Simon – Rivers/Pastures 
Son of Simon - Rivers/Pastures


Release Date: Out Now

I don’t get to review as many albums as I’d like, due to time pressures mainly, but I give them all a listen and when I come across one that’s really special, really worth writing home about then I want to make sure you all hear about. This new album by Andy Wilson-Taylor, under the pseudonym Son of Simon, is one such album so pull up a pew and let me tell you all about ‘Rivers/Pastures’. The haunting, wintry tones that open ‘Waltz’ would make you think this was going to be Ludovico Einaudi’s folk album but then Wilson-Taylor smooth, assured vocal joins you know this is something different, something more. ‘Mara’ continues with the intricate, plucked string theme but this time a sultry rhythm and some stadium sized strings take things up a notch on the drama-o-meter to somewhere along the lines of System Of A Down doing the score to a film about the breakdown of a relationship in Ukraine shortly after the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Apart from being a song title that you have to type carefully, ‘Shi’ is a Muse-esque album track of a song with deep, rumbling strings slinky and swirling around like a balletic ice-skater but powered along by some fantastically dramatic drumming. As delicate as the notes are on ‘Sisters’ the intention and power behind this tune is just as formidable while ‘Shadow’ is a more straightforward indie ballad in the style of Keane or The Fray with that huge sweeping sound and tear jerking build of emotion. The double tracked vocals of ‘American Girl’ are sublime and by the time the first chorus is done I’m convinced this is a song I’ve known all my life. And that’s the ‘Rivers’ part of the album over – dramatic, ambitious and not without huge melodies.


Son of Simon aka Andy Wilson-Taylor
The ‘Pastures’ half of the album kicks off with the thoroughly Ed Sheeran-esque ‘Before It Turns To Rain’ which has a real feel of ‘Photograph’ about it and would surely be gobbled up by the masses if they got to hear it. The intimate feel of ‘Run Away’ is purely made for that last glass of red wine as the lights of the city go out and the glow of the sun starts to creep in. Wilson-Taylor’s voice is rich and velvety smooth on its own but when doubled up its absorbing and the scattered beat that come and go make this just one of many highlights on this album. Similarly, ‘Colours In The Rain’ is a gorgeous slice of acoustic thoughtfulness that has a hint of Brother & Bones about it but those sumptuous strings elevate it to another level as the lyrics tell their sad tale of loss and regret. On ‘Helpless’ the piano is the instrument of choice but there is no let-up in the beauty and elegance of the music while ‘Moonlight’ goes for a slightly more edgy feel with a hint of the Above & Beyond acoustic material about it which is a very, very good thing. The final (bonus) track is ‘Next To Me’ and the piano rolls like a field of corn in the breeze and the melodies are full of homesickness and longing as they bring a lump to the throat and a tear to the eye.

It’s rare to find an album full of melodies with mainstream appeal which also has the kind of song-writing and musicianship to be considered for critical acclaim as well. Son of Simon might be a pseudonym or nom de plume but I can’t help but feeling this is an intensely personal album for Andy Wilson-Taylor and I, for one, am very grateful that he’s chosen to share it with us. You should be too.


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