Andrew Taylor

From the Outside Looking In

Rock Indiana Records

THIS is a solo album in the purest sense of the word. Every song written, every instrument played by the same man, all of it recorded and mixed by him, too: Andrew Taylor, founding member of Edinburgh-based Americana specialists Dropkick.

The outcome, as anyone familiar with the band’s 16-year history will know, is a catalogue of immaculately-crafted songs, resplendent with catchy hooks and alt country/power-pop chords and multi-tracked harmonies. The 10 cuts were written by Taylor over the last 15 years and recorded in the band’s rehearsal studio last year. The opener, Won’t You Talk to Me, kicks in with a brief whine of feedback and features a characteristically economical guitar solo and beguiling harmonies.

Here and there across the album there are stirring echoes of Matthew Sweet and Teenage Fanclub; both these acts would have been proud to have written what is possibly the album’s loveliest track, Stories, a poignant song that begins with a captivating melody on the mandolin and has Taylor resignedly singing – “If I was by your side/Nothing I’d done could make you hide/I won’t let you try/The stories I spun to make you cry” – against a melancholy backdrop of organ, drums, bass and guitar. It is quietly superb. Dropkick, incidentally, will soon be finishing work on their new album.

Russell Leadbetter