Hudson Taylor’s ‘Cinematic Lifestyle’ is American country/folk done Irish style – like Bright Eyes without the heady mix of depression, pessimism, optimism and activism. It’s an all-round strong release and a pleasant listen. But it’s all too familiar.
From the opener, Cinematic Lifestyle, to the closer, Chasing Rubies, the EP doesn’t put a foot wrong. The song-writing, the musicianship, and in particular the strong vocals and harmonies are placed to perfection. The chorus of the title track, “Won’t you come and get it”, makes you want to sing along (a common feature throughout the record) and every word, strum, and percussive hit is absolutely sweet. It’s pretty much folk perfection but, for that, it’s so much like a lot of stuff you have heard before.
You’ll have heard pleasant singing accompanied by nicely recorded percussion before. You’ll also have heard acoustic music with flitters of percussion hanging around in the background. And that’s what you can expect from this record. It’s very good at what it does. It’s just that it doesn’t do anything too different. It’s all too familiar.
‘Cinematic Lifestyle’ is a very nicely rounded release for this style of music. The vocals sit nicely on the music and the music itself is very well put together. All in all, the sound is filled out well. That said, when you’re recording acoustic music it’s hard for that sound not to fill out – the nature of the acoustic guitar is that it covers all frequencies and sounds sweeter and bigger than it is. But all this makes the vocals all the more important; stripping back the instrumentation really emphasises them.
This EP isn’t exactly unique musically and isn’t terribly exciting. You can hear this music in any venue on any given night; the standard music of opening acts. But Hudson Taylor’s brand of crowd warm-up music is very pleasant. It’s soothing and perfectly made. It’s hard to find fault with it, and that’s what makes it so perfectly middle of the road.
So, you shouldn’t listen to ‘Cinematic Lifestyle’ to find anything new; it’s likely that you won’t find anything. But you should listen to it because it’s a fine example of what you’ve heard before.