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.

Go-to trax:
So Much Further To Go
Crying in the Chapel
Repair Man
I Never Locked That Door

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Kyle is from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and if you're around him, you'll hear about it. He married music early when he rested his kindergarten hands on a piano for the first time (or perhaps the two of them eloped after his parents wouldn't buy their 6th grader a copy of AC/DC's live double album). As a History major at Ole Miss, Kyle fooled them all into letting him talk about blues music for credit. Even a thesis! (The University has still not been notified of their oversight.) Following his time in Oxford, he slung rekkids at T-Bones Records in Hattiesburg – he and his muse's long-delayed year-long honeymoon. Currently, Kyle is Mr. Crockett, a middle school English teacher obsessed with words and how to mess with them, with all the titans of industry that have messed with them the best. In his spare time, he writes about witches and marriage and piano and cinnamon rolls. | Instagram: @kylecrockett & @crocktrax17 Twitter: @ttekcorcelyk Tumblr: @unsquarestuff

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