When one of our favourite artists comes out with a new EP, we usually expect to love it. We know they’ve got talent and we know we like them, so we also know the album will be great. In the case of Taylor Cochrane and his new EP Cleaning Up, we are left very, very happy. He’s come a long way since the release of his first album, Acoustic, last year, and with a ton of development and maturity behind him he’s solidified his reputation as one of Calgary’s best artists.
Cleaning Up is a huge step for Taylor. Now with a full band behind him and rich, well-developed songwriting his music seems even more special. Acoustic was a great introduction to Taylor as a comedic wordsmith: he’s able to tell a story with clever lyrics, puns and endless double entendres, and whether he’s looking to cause laughter or tears, he can do either without much effort. Cleaning Up continues this trend of fantastic (and at times absurd) songwriting but in a more mature, rounded way. He can easily be compared to such singer-songwriters as Jack Johnson, Ben Harper or Rob Sumwalt, and with equally strong vocals and instrumentals behind him on this album, he’s on a completely equal playing field.
The five tracks are all fantastic and a great representation of Taylor’s unique songwriting and vocals. He has a great way of writing songs you can dance to. Listen to “Victoria”, for example: right away you’ll picture a choreographed dance routine featuring a pretty girl. Who knows why, but the bouncy toe-tappiness is perfect for this image. Same goes for “Simple Song”: the rhymey, bouncey nature of the song has the perfect beat for an easy airdrum. Just try to listen to these tracks without tapping to the beat — impossible!
Taylor’s biggest strength is his simplicity. Simplicity is surprisingly hard to come by: so many songwriters try so hard to be “unique” or “artsy” that their songs are impossible to listen to, but Taylor avoids this problem by writing songs that make sense. You can actually sing along to these tracks (or at least listen along — why cover up Taylor’s great voice?).
Everything Taylor does just gets better and better, and now that he’s off on a new western tour it won’t be long before he comes out with something even more exciting. If you get the chance, see him on stage. Visit his website and follow him on Facebook for more info about his tour and upcoming releases, and remember to buy his album! He’s known as one of Calgary’s best for a reason.