The self-titled debut EP Taylor Casey by Taylor Casey is a nice collection of five songs that dip their toes into several genres while swimming in a sea of ‘60s and ‘70s folk rock. Casey has a convincing voice and each song stands well on its own. There’s elements of Lennon/McCartney, Steve Goodman, John Prine, Bob Dylan and others in the songwriting, production and performance.
“Heaven Knows” is an energetic piece that has New Orleans style trumpets bursting over bluesy honky tonk piano and gritty saxophones. The vocals are swamped in reverb and the vibe recalls The Band. There’s a lot going on instrumentally and it does get busy at times, but the energy carries the song through.
“The Ballad Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” has a Ryan Adams-ish flavor when it starts out but finds a way to the orchestral heights of Wings with the single violin segue into a full string section. The influence continues with a bridge that goes into a lo-fi inner monologue of the alter-ego of the title character(s). With the nature of the song and the catchy hook that follows, it works as a thoughtful brief excursion.
The final three songs are more closely linked genre wise. “Kindness Of Others” is a harmonica led folk rocker. There’s some nice harmony vocals that blend very well with Casey’s voice and reinforce a ‘60s Greenwich Village sensibility. “Holy Water” an early ‘70s anthem with Lennon-esque doubled vocals, lush harmonies, bluesy guitars and impressive organ swells. “If I Die Tomorrow” closes the EP with a Dylan-ish vocal inflection as well as a Highway 61 Revisited performance by the band complete with dueling lead guitar and organ breaks.
The EP stands as a collection of songs that function well on their own. It’s a quick ride, but it’s a smart package to keep it short and sweet, putting more focus on the individual songs rather than putting everything together. Instrumentally, there’s a lot going on and some simplification might be a thought down the road, but the band sure packs a lot of energy and it’s an engaging ride. The hooks are catchy and Casey’s voice sells the songs.
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