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Taft; Austin: War Of The Songs Of Light Against The Songs Of Darkness

The lengthy and intricate title of the second album The War Of The Songs Of Light Against The Songs Of Darkness by Austin Taft, instantly tells you a lot about what you'll encounter when you step inside the world this multi-instrumentalist has created. The foundations being long, intricate, uncompromising songs which offer equal amounts of (obviously) light and dark, hope and despair. There's a lot to take in here and anyone looking for an hour or so of music as a backing to their day really should move along now - there's nothing for you to see here, as WOTSOLATSOD is an album best given your full attention, or not at all.

Taft works alone in the studio, the interesting essay he introduces the album with in the liner notes, showing he knows both the benefits and pitfalls of such an arrangement. Something which actually allows his offerings to sound reassuringly collaborative and fully realised. That's not to say that everything comes off 100%, but compared to most unsigned singularly visioned and constructed projects, the success rate is pretty high.

As you'd expect with such an ethos, what Taft loves to do is create hugely ranging tracks that employ ultra precise time signatures and changes to often take us to the Tool realms of math-rock. Although whether through design, or budget, in a rougher less pristine manner. Taft's voice is gruff and rasping, an unusual and welcome departure for this genre, while the rest of his musical skills verge on excellence, especially when it comes to the guitar and percussive work. Cleverly however sprinkled in between the ever evolving soundscapes such as "Vexation" or "The Illusion Of Duality" there are a number of straight ahead surprises. "Adrenaline" puts four on the floor to sound like The Almighty meets Rob Zombie, while "Goodbye Samantha Blue" heads down the singer songwriter acoustic guitar and voice path. Although the more aggressive vocal adopted as the song progresses does make it land on just the wrong side of overwrought. However both of these tracks show the versatility Taft can offer up and the very fact that he knows the more angular side of the album fares better when broken up a little by well worked alternatives, shows mature awareness.

Lyrically much of War Of The Songs Of Light Against The Songs Of Darkness is based round the current political climate the world over, but certainly more on the US's situation, something which made a lot of the topics a little remote for a guy like me from the East Coast of Scotland. However there is also a more personal perspective placed on some of the themes, which does thankfully make them a little easier to penetrate.

In Taft's own words his second musical offering varies considerably from his debut release, Beneath The Sun And Beyond The Reach Of God, being more true to his vision of what makes a good album. On this evidence his vision is pretty close to the mark. If darkly complex, self aware music is something you like to spend your time with, you need to pick up arms and join the War Of The Songs Of Light Against The Songs Of Darkness.

Track Listing
1. The Illusion of Duality
2. Light
3. The Social Construct
4. Born In Black Thorns
5. Adrenaline
6. Monster
7. So Far Down
8. War
9. Sabertooth
10. Vexation
11. Trust
12. Goodbye Samantha Blue
13. Freedom Wind

Added: June 14th 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Austin Taft Online
Hits: 3463
Language: english

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