Rolling stream

Weston Taylor plies the well-travelled indie pop waters in a standard canoe. There's nothing revolutionary (nor reverent) about his approach. He just sings his songs and moves on.

Ayo River
Failed State

And the songs are pretty basic in construction. There's nothing particularly surprising or striking there, either. Good stuff, a few steps above competent. But then, why do I like it so much more than other examples of the form?

That's the question that should drive artistic criticism. Not "Is it good?", as "good" is an almost entirely subjective judgment. The "why" is the key. And that I can answer easily.

Taylor is an open book. He invests himself into these songs, and it's easy to hear him (and not some character) as the pieces roll on. Producer Matt Martin (who also performed a lot of the music) has similarly left the sound free and clear. This album comes about as close as any I've heard to being a true open book. Nothing is hidden.

And all of that is done in such a natural and off-handed manner that it is not obvious at all. The songs drip and roll along, and it becomes easier and easier to nod along. Ayo River is anything but unique, but this album is uniquely appealing.

Jon Worley

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