Annie Taylor - Not Yours - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Annie Taylor - Not Yours

by Howard Scott Rating:9 Release Date:2019-04-26
Annie Taylor - Not Yours
Annie Taylor - Not Yours

Sometimes, you just need to chow down on a good steak. Yeah, you can survive on healthy food, such as salads and kale and water unearthed from some primordial pool somewhere, but is it really living? Sometimes, the urge for something juicy and meaty and tasty just has to be satisfied. (No offense to you vegans out there. Substitute carrot souffle for steak in this paragraph.)

That is exactly how I felt when listening to the new EP “Not Yours” by Swiss foursome Annie Taylor. After months of listening to various forms of indie music, I found it refreshing, life-renewing and appetite quenching to hear some good old, in-your-face kick-ass rock and roll. Sometimes, the beast must be fed.

 I must admit to a bit of apprehension when agreeing to review an effort from a band from the Alps. Would I be forced to endure 20 minutes or so of synthesized yodeling, or worse yet, rehashed tunes that would sound like “The Sound of Music” soundtrack updated and amplified?

To say that I was pleasantly surprised to find neither is an understatement. This band, which labels their sound “girl-grunge” would have sounded right at home on the American west coast of the late sixties, or the upper northwest Seattle sound of twenty years later. It is lo-fi, psychedelic rock-grunge done well, and the addition of a 12 string electric here and there just adds a satisfying side dish to the feast. 

The band takes its name from the moniker of the first nutcase to decide to launch herself over Niagara Falls in a barrel over a hundred years ago. I guess it is supposed to incite a girl-power type of attitude in the quartet, but it seems to me someone slightly less crazy might have been a better role model, but what do I know?

The impressive guitar work that highlights the EP kicks off immediately on “Aerglo”. Lead vocalist and backing guitarist Gini Jungi trades riffs with Tobi Arn before her made-for-rock voice lights up the tune. There are ample examples of solo work presented here by both string benders, and the dark-pop atmosphere is just outstanding. This is the way rock used to sound, and I have to wonder why it seems so much rarer on today’s scene.

The foundation of the band anchors “S.L.E.E.P.”, with bass player Michael Mutter laying down a delicious doom line and drummer Jan Winkler keeping it understated but steady. Jungi’s vocal adds to the moody landscape, and once again strong guitar touches are placed right where they should be. This one is a personal favorite of five incredibly strong tunes. 

We creep into a more pop-infused sound with “Under Your Spell” which gives Arn’s 12 string capabilities a chance to emerge and take over. An echo-laced vocal and well placed time changes give this well-crafted groove a bit of an 80’s grunge feeling of inspiration, but with a modern update added for flavor.

“Deeper” lives up to its name, as each player pulls the most out of their respective instrument. The bass opening sets the mood and the spooky backing vocals add to the full psychedelic bombast that would have sounded right at home in 1968 San Francisco. Since I grew up on that stuff, it was like revisiting an old friend that I had almost forgotten existed. Sublime.

The title tune “Not Yours” is the strongest lyrical offering as the song tells a tale of a misinformed paramour. Timing changes again give the cut a polished and surprising attitude to close out the disc with a satisfying bit of crunchiness.

There has never seemed to be a torrent of bands emerging from Switzerland, now or in the past. I believe the last time I remember even thinking of the land of fine watches and secret bank accounts during a rock song was “Smoke On the Water”, decades ago. If Annie Taylor is leading the charge of a new and refreshing sound from that famously neutral country, then bring it on. There is always a place in the musical landscape for this crave-satisfying brand of rock. 

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