The first thing that grabs you is the voice.
Crisp yet emotive and utterly indifferent to gravity, it glides then soars over a deceptively simple foundation of guitar and piano alternately conjuring jazzy pop and poppy jazz with a smidge of folk that’s utterly unlike anything you’ve heard before but something you instantly want to hear again.
This is the music of Taylor Angus, the fast-emerging duo featuring namesake singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Taylor Angus and her partner, guitarist/songwriter Logan Brown.
Together, the pair - by their reckoning, spiritual cousins to Buckingham Nicks but musically closer to Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass – crafts original songs so unique yet accessible that their brilliant new six-track EP, Sympathy For You, can be viewed as both an artistic statement and a statement of intent.
World domination is in the crosshairs for the Kingston/Ottawa-based musicians, a point corroborated by their dazzling 2016 debut
First Light of Dawn which electrified music fans, radio programmers and even British synth-pop star Howard Jones, who invited them on tour.
“Our hope is that this EP will do what our last record did: open doors for us as artists able to do this full- time,” Brown says. “This is a total blessing, and to have First Light of Dawn garner real fans that weren’t our parents was amazing,” the guitarist howls.
Judging by the early success of the new EP’s saucy, guitar-goosed focus track, ‘You’re Gonna Wish I Stayed,’ it looks like Taylor Angus’ desire to “shoot for the moon and land among the stars” is very much on track.
Recorded over a few intense days in winter 2017 at Hamilton’s Catherine North Studios with bassist Oscar Ansetti guesting, Sympathy For You is a snapshot of Angus and Brown’s total convergence as a duo after performing solo: she at Ottawa Bluesfest and recording a demo with legendary producer Thom Panunzio at Interscope Studios in Los Angeles, and he winning multiple guitar and songwriting awards across Ontario.
The duo’s easy harmony is palpable in songs like ‘Cry Me A River’ which finds Angus’ voice draped like a shawl across Brown’s supple acoustic guitar, and in the earwormy and sprightly ‘Your Choice’ which, along with plaintive ballad ‘Lay Down,’ features Brown sharing lead vocals for the first time.
Though they tend to write songs separately, Angus and Brown confirm their status as a couple impacts their music. “There is a chemistry people pick up on,” Brown says. “We love each other and we love the songs and, without getting too cheesy, that’s prevalent whenever we perform. People just seem to get into a good mood... whether we’re playing a pub or a concert hall.”
That Sympathy For You comes with 3D glasses to better enhance its cover image is further proof the couple follows their instinct no matter what. “It is an undertaking to include the glasses in the CD,” Angus laughs. “But we thought it would be cool.”
Sometimes, cool is enough... especially when you boast the inimitable sound and style of Taylor Angus.