From acclaimed cover bands to penning numerous tracks finding a host of film and TV placements and through co-founding a charity teaching underprivileged kids music to producing one side of the upcoming new album from DAVID J (Bauhaus/Love N Rockets) with plenty more adventures beside it all, it has been a lively journey for JULIAN SHAH-TAYLER (aka The Singularity) so far but hold on to your hats as the ride is about to get wilder as his new album, Elysium, bursts upon the world.
UK (Leeds) born and now Los Angeles based, Shah-Tayler has created many notable moments with his solo releases too, uncaging an electro rock sound which has persistently ignited imaginations and gathered critical acclaim from contemporaries and media alike. Proving though how difficult it is to awaken worldwide attention, his records have yet to find that deserved spark. We suggest that moment has now arrived with the release of his third album. Elysium is a voracious incitement of emotive exploration and contagion loaded enterprise cast with an imagination which is as fertile as the inspirations he draws on.
It is fair to say that Shah-Tayler wears his influences on his creative sleeves, embracing the inspiration of 80’s new wave and 90’s Britpop as well as electronic rock across the decades. His passion for DAVID BOWIE is equally inescapable; indeed he has drawn lusty plaudits and sells out notable venues with his David Bowie tribute band, THE BAND THAT FELL TO EARTH with similar success through STRANGELOVE, his DEPECHE MODE tribute band (THE CURE tribute band, THE CURED, in which he is the singer/keyboard player, not hanging about drawing high praise either). As we said, they are flavours which are open hues in his music yet only go to shape its individuality rather than bringing an echo of those sources. The evidence has been proven through his previous songs and releases and comes like a rousing wave within Elysium.
Exploring *the* love of one’s life…” from the very moment we met, and the subsequent and very relatable emotional rollercoaster that comes with the territory of being in love and overcoming vast distances, both literal and metaphorical”, Elysium opens with End Of The Line. A chilled breeze washes across ears first; it’s sigh almost despondent in its breath but swiftly lit up by the sizzle of guitar and Shah-Tayler’s organically magnet tones. Simultaneously, a spirited jangle stepped forth inciting a similarly buoyant response in keys and rhythms. In no time it was under the skin dancing with body and emotions as vocal contemplation continued to work its way towards hope and an enlivening light.
The track is superb, a rousing slice of synth pop/electro rock setting attention and the release aflame and strikingly followed by the just as outstanding The Devil Knows. Like a few other tracks, it is an earlier single given a new album sized body and like all finding even greater captivation within ears. The song also has a synth pop breeding and as a few moments in songs swiftly reminded of MINISTRY in their initial pop endeavours. With warm angst in voice and expression, the song is an array of urgency and enterprise revelling in its author’s invention and impassioned energy as well as the guest bass prowess of David J and guitarist MGT (Tricky/Mission UK).
Melt casts atmospheric radiance around ears next within which Shah-Tayler opens up his heart as guitars weave a web of fiery contemplation round the rhythms of Chris J Olivas (Berlin) while Secret offers suggestion and animated manipulation with every second of its dextrous stroll. Voracious in virulence and merciless in catchiness, the track is another which had us dancing physically and vocally like a puppet, rotating to its brassy swing with lustful endeavour.
With the guitars of MGT and Gene Micofsk drawing anxiety tense wires around celestially lit keys and the drama cast words and expression of Shah-Tayler, Evolution compellingly pulsated on the senses next. Its fusion of light and shadows beguiled and its almost otherworldly climate fascinated, ears keenly lost in its ethereal seduction before Lupine prowled ears and thoughts with its crepuscular presence, the song a predacious trespass and tempting forging another major moment within the album.
The evocative rumination of All Good Soldiers proved just as potent in stirring thought and emotion. Those Bowie inspirations are an indelible essence within the song but again adding to its individual personality and resourceful temptation as again brooding light, sensitive seduction and darkened dilemma unite, the latter shaped by tenebrific basslines and discord casting guitar, an essence of sonic disharmony and disunity which enlivens and escalates the lure of many tracks within Elysium.
Featuring drummer Sam West and Nathan van Hala on keys, Head Up High serenades ears with rare charm and emotive musing before Kintsugi follows with matching captivation, its body a mix of eighties indie rock and turmoil bent modern day electro rock dissonance honed into another thickly infectious proposal if one trespassing the passions more aggressively than most.
Eighties electro pop seeds Earthquakes next with Bet Your Life caressing ears with acoustic sentiment and tempting immediately after; both songs pushing the diversity of flavouring within the release and each escalating the pleasure of the unexpected and unpredictable, each revealing more volatile and tempestuous essences to devour.
Their impressive offering though is swiftly eclipsed by Darkling U, a slab of moody rock ‘n’ roll aligning electro punk and synth pop rapacity and finding greed fuelled reaction. It is a gripping and mightily compelling close to a just as ensnaring and thrilling release, one also offering up a couple of bonus tracks in the 2020 shapes of Living In A Dream and Fisk for an encore of pleasure.
Elysium is available now digitally as a Name Your Price download on his Bandcamp, bait enough but the main reason you should go treat yourself is because Elysium is JULIAN SHAH-TAYLER sharing his finest moment of songwriting, creativity and inspiriting invention and one of the year’s true highlights.
Pete RingMaster 22/10/2022
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