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  Failed State
  Ayo River
Release Date:
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I have been listening to this record off and on for a year, and just finally decided that, yeah, i should get off my duff to review it. This is a record of engaging pop-rock sung by a mopey voiced gentleman who reminds me, slightly and in the overall effect of the music, of Say Hi To Your Mom.

So i looked up the band -- it's the project of Weston Taylor, who is from Atlanta. This is a local act and i had no idea. I guess that i am kind of out of "the scene" as it were. Aging sucks, stay outta my lime tree, etc...

Mr. Taylor does a really nice job here. This is quality pop.

He front loads the record with Porcelain, a stunner of a tune. The whole song just pops nicely, his slightly whiny voice accompanied perfectly by the soaring guitars and drums. It gets pretty epic with horns and lots of keys at the end, which is nice. But Taylor sings about "being 25 now" and it like he is kicking me in the shins... Like i need to be reminded that i was 25 an awfully long time ago by a sparkling catchy pop song.

On Jolts, the guitar grinds under some distortion and the drum beat is a lethargic random hit. This moves along slowly, but it is not bad, just a nice little song.

At the start of Mercedes Taylor's guitar sparkles like something from The Chameleons, a bright guitar sound that is very nice. The whole song kind of bounces along, Taylor singing a story of depression and car accidents. It reminds me of the kind of confessional bouncy pop that Dr. Dog did on their first record, only with a hint of shoegaze guitarwork that sparkles over a nice rumbling bass and tight drumming. This is a lovely song.

He mixes it up totally for White Dress, with a drum machine ticking and booming hip hop bass beat. However, over this he speaks his usual slightly whiny, spoken/sung lyrics. It's nice, and in a way reminds me a little of Her Space Holiday.

Taylor strips things down for Porches + Patios to a picked guitar, a light drum beat, some piano, and his voice. For some reason, i thought this would be an Americana record -- Ayo River just screams "Blood shot Records" to me, and Porches + Patios is the closest that Ayo River get to that genre. Which is, to be honest, not very. This is a pop song with sparkling guitar and a faint hint of Americana.

Waking Up is a light shoegazey guitar and faint drum beat, as Taylor's voice meanders. He gets a little folky on 11 Likes, but the sparkling guitar and steady drum beat reminds me a little of Men at Work. Just slightly. Both are nice poppy songs.

The next two tracks are Tantrum, Pt. 1 and its addendum Tantrum, Pt. 2. In his first tantrum Taylor sings "On my darkest days i hate you / On my best i don't think of you at all", which is pretty harsh, but doesn't seem tantrum-y to me. I guess maybe if he screamed that while stomping his feet and flinging legos at me it would... The first part of this goes on very faintly, a slow folk tune, until building gradually to the anger of the lyrics i quoted. The music is never angry, it still burbles and soars, the rhythm swinging along. It's very pretty. The second tantrum part is piano and faint voice.

The next tune chugs with an electro beat over a burbling synth line and his voice in two layers. The song is called Snakes, and again he reminds me of Her Space Holiday. This is not a bad thing...

And finally we have the title track, which is a poppy happy song that moves along nicely. The guitar sparkles like Deebank, then he adds in drums and bass and it gets pretty rocking.

Overall, this is a lovely little pop album by a local artist. Huh. Good work Atlanta!

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