Just Getting Started
This is the second album by About Group, a group that is essentially a side project. Alexis Taylor, vocalist for the British electronic band Hot Chip, recorded 14 songs in one day at Abbey Road Studios with a band that was not permitted to rehearse before the recording. This was ostensibly so that the album would have that flash of spontaneous creativity that makes some albums, like Miles Davis’, so electrifying.
It works as a low-pressure side project; it sounds like the guys are rehearsing in the house next door and they’re actually not that bad. Maybe you’d even like to go over and watch them play. The problem is that the songs are so low energy that they are simply underwhelming. Taylor’s tunes are nice, and they even have a pleasing late-night melancholy to them, but he has clearly composed them on a Wurlitzer organ and he overuses the instrument. His melodic sense is a welcome addition to the album, but his voice is too simpering to do the songs justice. On a second listen songs like “A Sinking Song” and “Married to the Sea” sound like a better production could have made them actually quite beautiful.
The Miles Davis improvisational production method would have worked with: A) a tighter band with better chemistry; B) songs more suited to improvisation; C) a high-energy live recording; or D) all of the above. As it is, this album sounds like what it is: a side project by guys who aren’t quitting their day jobs.