Samuel TaylorSamuel Taylor
Album: London EP
Label: Self Published
Tracks: 4

Sam has spent 2015 producing a series he of EPs called "Tales From A Troubadour", with the intention of recording each one in a different city, using local musicians, producers and studios. Not surprisingly, the "London EP" began its life in London. It does have a very different feel to it than "Paper Wings", which could well be down to the different recording locations. "Paper Wings" has the feel of a folk album, with Dylan influences. This EP has a full band sound with orchestration.

The EP was intended to be a joint collaboration between Sam and Joe Hastings, who has his own studio in London. They managed to record the basic framework, and to add piano, steel and some strings, but the costs became prohibitive, so Sam moved back to Sheffield to finish it off. Back in Sheffield he enlisted the help of fellow Dead Like Harry musicians Adam Croft (drums) and Matthew Taylor, his brother on keyboards, along with the wonderful Rebecca Van Cleave on backing vocals.

After it was all completed, Sam realised that somewhere along the way, in all of the twoing and froing amongst recording studios, his electric guitar had been stolen. Thus, I suspect it would be very much appreciated if you could buy this EP, or any of his other "Tales From A Troubadour" EPs, to help recoup some of the studio costs and help him to replace his guitar.

The four tracks on this EP are all astonishingly good. Each one feels better than the last, even when you play the EP on continuous loop.

I must say though, that the first track, "Bury Me Alive" does worry me slightly. The theme of the song, at least as far as I can interpret the lyrics, is that he equates being tied down in a long term relationship with being buried alive. Now it's perfectly alright to write or to sing a song like that when you are single, but kind of strange when you are in a relationship. And really strange to sing it as a duet with your partner. That said though, Rebecca's chorus, consisting only of "La La La" is beautiful. The strings are a wonderful addition, and the subtle little burst of drumming at the end of each line of "La La las" sounds almost like timpani. Stunning.

The second track, "Trouble" is very typical Samuel Taylor lyrics. He loves a pun, and ambiguity, with such fine examples of pure poetry as : "Is there a meaning in the words you never say?" and "The trouble with you's that the trouble with you it never ends".

"Children On Their Birthdays" is, I think, about a childhood photograph taken in order to capture memories for the future, but now that future has arrived. Not clear if the person in the image has just grown up and moved on, or whether they have passed on, but there's a mournful feel about the song which I think is actually down to the percussion.

I pride myself on being not too shoddy at interpreting lyrics, but I'm not too sure what "Here I Wait In My Room" is about. The lyrics are almost a stream of free flowing words that allow you to intepret them however you see fit. That said, boy is this song brilliant. There's a complex driving rhythm from the drums, with the lead instrument being Sam's harmonica. This would make a perfect song to drive to. Open top car, open road, open throttle, full volume, drive.

The combination of the London influence, (strings and steel), combined with the Sheffield influence (drums, keyboards and backing vocals) may mean that this EP didn't turn out quite as originally planned, but it has resulted in an EP that is a real force to be reckoned with.

Pete Bradley