The Torment Suite – Julian Shah-Tayler (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

There is a strap line on Julian Shah-Tayler’s page which asks… “What if Bowie, Prince and the Cure had a baby?”…and to be honest I couldn’t really sum his music up anything like as succinctly as that. 

I could leave it there but I guess you, dear reader, are looking for me to put a bit more meat on those bones. Well okay, if I must! And once you have those references tripping about in your head it is hard not to hear Bowie in opening track All Good Soldiers a song which captures the very essence of the great man so deftly that it is also impossible to discuss era or suggest albums, it is just soaked in his alien vibe, his outsider sonics, his art meets rock tastefullness. There is nothing so crass as plagiarism or plundering going on here but I feel that their respective muses are probably first cousins, at least.

Asking the likes of David J and MGMT along to join a creative party is always a smart move and the result, Beautiful World is a gorgeously euphoric, slightly cosmic, effortlessly psychedelic slice of pop-rock…or pop…or rock, this isn’t a place where genres are easily welded, nor should you try. Ava Gore lends her vocal charms to Eyes of Orion and if you are beginning to think that The Torment Suite is a bit of a joint effort, well, it is.

It is a record both about ideas of lockdown and isolation and also the product of it. When you can only reach out to others through screens and digital communications, why not revel in such strange times and make a record that represents the moment both in content and in the way it has come about.

It comes as no surprise that Julian Shah-Tayler indulges in a cover of Bowies’ Loving The Alien, it seems the most natural choice in the world and it sits perfectly alongside his own compositions. It’s a gorgeous collection of songs, the sound of the torch being passed on from the likes of Bowie and Depeche Mode and, in its more raw and raucous moments, perhaps Love and Rockets, to a new generation of outsider music makers, well, one at least, one who understands exactly where they come from and who promises so much that is interesting and intriguing as they carry the potential of that sonic firebrand forward.



One thought on “The Torment Suite – Julian Shah-Tayler (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

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  1. Sounds like a bunch of shameless name dropping. Don’t be fooled, Julian has not been living in isolation. His wife and child were under the same roof. He had A LOT of human touch and interaction. But chose a digital screen as a form of escapism to b-line reality. And that line, “What if Bowie, Prince and the Cure had a baby?” I wrote that.

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