For fans of vibrant and consistently engaging Hot Chip, Alexis Taylor’s name will be enough to give this one a listen. Piano is a striking exercise in musical and personal introspection, and the voluminous quiet that comes with it. For everyone else, perhaps Piano’s novelty will do the trick, but Hot Chip lovers won’t get the pulsing synthonic power they’re used to. Taylor has challenged himself here giving himself offering nothing but a piano, some expectedly adept songcraft, and his endearing McCartneyan vocal clarity. On Piano, those three things are done with taste and control and the result is a pleasant and challenging and softly honest musical release. Taylor’s chosen intimate setting is the perfect one for his self-proclaimed “atheist’s gospel record,” a blissful song sequence of beautiful ballads.
Alexis has always had an innate ability to develop a uniquely gripping melody, and it’s a good thing he can. When only some sparse keyed tones and expressive chordal movements accompany you, your voice and your creative aptitude practically stand alone for all to hear. Fortunately, Taylor’s voice and craft keeps this dulcet recording from falling victim to a flat tonal character; all these songs indeed fall into a very similar vein, but Taylor saves Piano from such a monotonous fate. Don’t expect much dynamic shift here in style or in volume, but Taylor does extremely well to turn this set of simple songs into an almost spiritual experience of humanity. A release with such a crippling sonic barrier can only go so far, but Alexis Taylor takes Piano as far as his setting could allow.
So Much Further To Go
Crying in the Chapel
I Never Locked That Door