Image courtesy of Paddy Benson
Hudson Taylor… Are they up and coming, well yes, they haven’t conquered the world yet, so they are still definitely on the rise. Our James Hendicott breaks down a few more barriers to make sure that if you haven’t heard of them yet, you now will.
Okay, we’ll ‘fess up. Classifying Hudson Taylor as an up and coming is pushing the boundaries of our knowingly obscure-ish column a touch. The Dublin brothers (they don’t look like brothers, do they?) Alfie and Harry Hudson-Taylor have recently signed to a major label (the details seem pretty hush-hush at the moment, but they let it slip at a recent press launch in Dublin). As we write, they’re in the US entertaining in New York, and Nialler9 recently wrote a post basically telling the major labels to hop-along and snap them up, and the man should know. As I’ve just mentioned, one of them promptly did.
Yes, they sound suspiciously like a late addition to the fashionable, probably slightly overblown modern-day take on folk, and popularity (well in excess of a million YouTube videos over half a dozen of their most popular YouTube videos) is far from a guarantee of quality, as those of us who’ve listened in to the charts anytime recently can attest (autotune hatred alert). Hudson Taylor are essentially an acoustic folk band, based largely around piano track (see the video below) and acoustic guitars, and propelled along by two quite exceptional voices. They’re simple, but simple done well is always a winner.
If we wanted to be hyper critical (part of the job, right?), we’d point to the slightly obvious nature of some of the lyrics and a pretty contrived image, but as soon as they open their mouths, all is forgiven. Check out the ‘Battles’ EP, or the tracks ‘Won’t Back Down’ (below, gorgeous) and bizarre mash-up cover with Orla Gartland ‘Lose Yourself Walking On The Flume’ (brilliantly daft) to get a sense of it all.
They’ll more than likely be a big deal in Ireland before too long, so now’s the time to head out and catch the brothers (and let’s face it, you’ll be queuing either way, the difference will be the size of the venue). The live vocals are studio quality, which is always a top-selling point for any act, and there’s a gorgeously afflicted vibe to those lyrics, a sense that there’s been a bit of pain in this pair’s life even at their tender age.
And the flip side?
The style is certainly not going to sit well with everyone. We can already see the Mumford & Son hate brigade turning on the song above fairly quickly, but having clocked them live early on, we can reassure that while there might be a tinge of modern folk cliché here, Hudson Taylor are outstanding musicians. Folk-pop being the new cheese shouldn’t detract from sheer talent; these guys are barely old enough to drink (well, technically…) and they have real soul. Win, win, really.
Keep an ear out. They’ll be playing the cheesy-charity Childline show at the O2 on the 24th of November, on the under bill of the likes of The Script and JLS (if you can handle the inevitable scream fest). That’s already sold out, mind, and we’d wait for a more intimate setting anyway. You can get that over in the UK around the same time; Irish dates can’t be too far away.
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Up & Comers is jointly produced fortnightly by Goldenplec and