Review Summary: And when the votes are made, I might make a mark
I'm going to try and do SOHN a favor here. For all the hype the electronic producer’s been getting over the last couple months, a fair bit of it has been prefaced by comparisons to other artists in the beats-driven R&B scene where the musician’s been wedged. And sure, some of that is fair- we need a basis upon which we can understand which fields artists are playing within, yada yada- but at the same time, I feel an obligation to give credit where it’s due. For Vienna-born Christopher Taylor here and his accompanying debut album, I gotta say this guy is paving his own path rather well. Tremors
finds time to be adventurous with its feet firmly planted on the ground; it moves maturely.
There are many factors into what makes Tremors
a worthwhile album to invest time in. If there’s one thing about it that’s unendingly consistent about it, though, it’s that Taylor always knows how to make an intriguing beat- and in terms of scope, he runs the gamut. Songs like “Lights” deploy an outfit of airy and glassy drums that properly keep pace; in other realms, mechanistic growls practically define the more spastic “Veto.” And not just are these songs structurally interesting; they’ll want to make you feel something, designed with emotion in mind. So if you feel nothing after playing “The Wheel” below, then I can’t help you any further. But even though SOHN stirs the pot stylistically as much as he does here, the end result is a sumptuous, satisfying piece that goes down easily from the first bite. And for better or worse, that first taste defines this album- for what you hear on your first spin of Tremors
, much of it will evade your memory the instant it settles. This record is potent at once- “The Wheel” will make sure of that, let me tell you- but after a bit more time with the tune, the magic wears off a bit. While I didn’t think it at the time, I’ve come to realize “The Wheel,” as alluring as it is, is rather an accurate precursor of the rest of Tremors
. The song contains some marvelous ideas (like the one in the song’s intro!,) but they hardly have a chance to be valued when repeated ad nauseum. Don’t give us too much of the good things, Taylor- tease us more, you sly dog.
Seductive properties of this album aside, I’ve already discussed the music itself and how its varying scope contributes to all kinds of moods. But another important factor to consider here is Taylor’s voice itself. It specializes in a no-frills sort of falsetto, giving exactly what the song calls for and nothing more. His voice is commanding, but it’s also complementary to the music when need be (see “Paralysed” and the muted brilliance of his performance therein.) At some points, it’s undeniable Tremors
could use a more jagged voice at its helm, but at the same time Taylor’s vocal contributions make this one internally consistent record. Refinement and polish are at the top of the agenda here; as a result, however, SOHN doesn’t make as much of a mark as he could. He sure is starting to find his footing with his music, though- this album is a testament to the fact that the best way to improve at something is to keep doing it. Because Tremors
was created, Taylor is going to learn lessons from it, and he’ll grow more adept at his music with each passing day. But that sure doesn’t change the fact that in the moment this record hits you, it’s the sweetest thing- and not much else will matter.