For this latest release from Taylor's Universe, Robin Taylor and Co. have gone back into the studio and revisited four lengthy songs from their huge back catalog. However, seeing as most of the current band were not in the line-up back when these songs were originally recorded, it's almost as if Taylor has presented them with new material for this new album, so for the musicians, as well as perhaps many listeners, Almost Perfected, will be a fresh experience. Taylor states in the liner notes that he was unhappy with the way these tracks turned out in their original incarnations, so being able to go in and re-record them the way they were intended, with his current band, was something he really enjoyed doing. Alongside Taylor (guitars, keyboards, bass, percussion), we have John Sund (guitars, bass), Jakob Mygind (saxophones), Thomas TV Ulstrup (Minimoog), Rasmus Grosell (drums), and Klaus Thrane (drums), along with a few guest vocalists.
Opening track "Mean Attack" clocks in at nearly 12-minutes long, and fluctuates between melodic, smooth jazz and explosive, guitar led rock, with both Taylor and Sund firing off plenty of sizzling guitar licks amid some gentle rhythms and tasty keyboards. Majestic acoustic guitars and Minimoog float around a proggy arrangement on "Definitely Greek (He Said)", with added vocalizations adding an almost Genesis/Yes element to the song and a heaping amount of bombast, including some blazing drums and keys towards the finale. "Remembering Johannesburg" has a grandiose, symphonic feel to it, again the keyboards and acoustic guitar taking center stage, but also including some lovely sax, electric guitar, and synth solos, while the epic closer "Dark Side of Alec" kicks things up a notch, a bubbling, boiling stew pot of space rock, prog, and jazz-fusion, the band launching into some terrific musical explorations, especially Sund, who rips off a screaming, shredding guitar solo that is easily one of the highlights of the album. Taylor's haunting organ drifts along and gives great support to the guitar and sax flights on this one, as images of Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream, Weather Report, and Eloy come to mind.
Almost Perfected is a highly enjoyable set of music, and if this will be a first visit to these songs for some of you, it will be a truly great experience. For those who have closely followed the career of Robin Taylor and know these pieces well, check out what Taylor's Universe have done to them here in 2017.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1) Mean Attack (11:42)
2) Definitely Greek (He Said) (10:48)
3) Remembering Johannesburg (9:23)
4) Dark Side of Alec (14:27)