A bit of buzz has been building up around Hudson Taylor for a while. Having started out busking on Grafton Street, the brothers (Alfie and Harry) relocated to London a couple of years ago and have since been signed by Polydor. They’ve built up an impressive following on social media which will give them a solid foundation and fanbase that will no doubt lap up their debut album Singing for Strangers. That hard work and time spent honing their craft is evident on what is a highly polished debut, built on sweet voices, strident acoustic guitars and the occasional crashing piano chord.
The opening track Just A Thought kicks things off in exuberant fashion, with plenty of ‘Whoa-oh’s’, bringing to mind those other young Irish upstarts Raglans. It’s clear from the start that Hudson Taylor have a knack for hook-laden, clever pop songs about lost love that are just right for repeated radio plays. The pastoral Butterflies and Night Before The Morning After further enforce this view, while next single World Without You allows the duo to show off their impressive vocal range with some stunning falsetto.
Weapons is a charming call to lay down arms and embrace the sweeter things in life while Care appeals to that nice girl to get away from that nasty guy. It’s all very nice and incredibly well put together but there are two tracks that break from the poppy template and these are the tracks that really stand out.
Off The Hook eschews the big sound of most of the album and sticks with a sparse arrangement of folky guitar picking, bass and beautiful harmonised vocals while Battles is the best song on the album. Menacing keys and strumming introduce this sinister folk tune, with world weary lines like “only time will tell if we’re all just cynics on the run” make it the most lyrically interesting track on offer.
This is a really solid album and it will be interesting to see where Hudson Taylor go from here. They have the pop sensibilities and ability to craft a tune that could see them be hugely appealing commercially but that’s not the only weaponry in their arsenal. It would be great to also see them further explore the more folk end of things as well. Whatever way they go, it looks like these young brothers are destined for good things and with a raft of well crafted tunes and years of hard work already behind them, few could begrudge them that success.
This article originally appeared on dublinconcerts.ie on 22 January 2015