Dublin duo Hudson Taylor‘s ‘Feel It Still’ EP will mark the brothers’ first release in two years, following their 2015 album ‘Singing For Strangers’. The five-track EP follows a brief national tour at the end of last year and is their first collaboration with new label Rubyworks.
Since first emerging on Youtube and Dublin’s Grafton Street many years ago as Harry and Alfie, it’s easy to forget just how long the boys have actually been grafting in the music industry. Their rebrand to Hudson Taylor marked a shift in maturity and direction and their music has been growing and evolving to match that ever since.
Title track Feel It Still was released in August and has been very-well received ever since. Produced by Ryan Hadlock, best known for his work with The Lumineers and Vance Joy, and mixed by Ruadhri Cushnan (Mumford & Sons, Ed Sheeran) in Dublin, Hudson Taylor’s signature harmonies and musicality ring true. It’s upbeat, tuneful and bursting with sound and energy that draws you in and fills you with a cheer and optimism that’s hard to ignore. The constant clapping combined with their calling vocals and instrumentation throughout make it a wonderfully captivating and carefree song that has proven itself a favourite on radio and with live audiences.
Unfortunately, the remaining four tracks on the EP lack that same energy. Run With Me has a similar sound to Picture This. It’s an easy listening, sing-a-long track with folk habits but it lacks any real “oomph”. Their harmonies are as strong as ever, giving it their signature stamp, but there’s nothing flashy or impressive about it as the opening offering of the record.
Easy Baby starts off well with a heavier sound, consistent percussion and rolling vocals but the chorus really lets it down with synths that don’t seem to fit, hollow lyrics and intrusive electric guitar.
The middle track Travellin’ tells the tales of life on the road and travelling to pursue music. Harmonica and piano feature heavily on this track which breaths some life back in to the EP and the repeated use of claps as heard on Feel It Again make it slightly more energetic than others.
Old Soul is the second single release and is the softest track. There’s simplicity across the board with arrangement, instrumentation and lyrics. Alfie’s vocals are not too dissimilar to Jack Steadman of Bombay Bicycle Club on this particular recording and the production compliments the song’s theme well.
The bar was set high with title track Feel It Again and although the other tracks differ slightly in style, none of them are strong enough to make much of an impact on listening. Hudson Taylor have neither taken a step forward nor a step back with this EP, but they have to ask themselves, is that good enough?