Published Feb 25, 2020Former Fish & Bird frontman Taylor Ashton's solo debut, The Romantic, has been several years in the making, but it's given him the time and resources to learn to collaborate with a wide swath of artists and musicians.
The result is a record loaded with unique instrumental choices and arrangements no doubt forged from the bonds he's made in New York City (where moved from Vancouver in 2015). Whether it be the gentle banjo picking, jazzy saxophones, heady strings, soft contemplative piano, or even the eccentric yet supple bass clarinet, everything on The Romantic works together to create a uniquely layered approach to the overall sound.
Taylor's voice on The Romantic is warm, inviting and perhaps a bit melodically aloof, as if he's more of an observer, as opposed to a commentator, when it comes to the life experiences he's chosen to write about. The record as a whole has a mellow feel, with Paul Simon "Still Crazy After All These Years" and Beatles "Blackbird" undertones and, of course, a generous spoonful of modern folk-pop. Standout tracks are the "wee you"-infested chorus of "Straight Back," the anthemic "Fallen Down Tree" and the pop laden "F.L.Y."
At the end of the day, The Romantic doesn't serve to add anything new or original to the folk-pop genre, but it's still very enjoyable front to back. It's a beach listen, a peaceful recline on a summer's day, the wind at your back, as you watch the world slowly float by. (Signature Sounds)