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WPGM Recommends: Hudson Taylor – Feel It Again (EP Review)

Irish folk-rock duo Hudson Taylor released their brand new EP Feel It Again on Friday, March 23 – the first record they’ve release since their debut album in 2015.

Recorded at Bear Creek Studio in Seattle, Feel It Again was produced by Ryan Hadlock (Vance Joy, The Lumineers) and mixed by Ruadhri Cushnan (Mumford & Sons, Ed Sheeran) at Camden Recording Studio in Dublin. The 5-track project was written by brothers Harry and Alfie, and shifts gently between melancholy moments and uplifting mood boosters that showcase the chemistry and creativity of the pair.

With a musician for a father and a dancer for a mother – a textbook breeding ground for creativity – the duo grew up busking around Dublin before forming their current project in 2011. They stick close to their roots, often busking for free in cities they tour in as well as playing parts of their live shows acoustically without microphones.

In their past, Hudson Taylor’s music has been characterised by layered but subtle musical support, allowing a strong focus on the vocal harmonies between the brothers and the phrases they produce. There’s a bit of a move away from that in Feel It Again – they still create exquisite melodies from combining their exceptional voices, but have incorporated a lot of blues and country influences to add depth and experiment with genres.

There is a sense of optimism and playfulness to the record that is often present in their work – an air of elation that makes you feel like jumping in the car for a road trip even though it’s winter and you don’t have a car or a licence. My first listen to the EP I found myself grinning – they have an infectious energy to their music that make the lyrics stick with you long after you’ve stopped listening.

The first track “Run With Me” was released as a single back in January and has all of the fundamentals of a successful stand-alone hit. Cheerful and catchy, it jumps straight into upbeat folksy acoustic guitar strums and piano and is joined by a soaring chorus that is all about looking forward and staying positive.

Easy Baby” moves into more poppy territory – a layering of keyboards, electric guitar slides, congas, clapping and tambourine, gently building the crescendo to meet the crooning chorus. There’s something about this one that could easily place it at the opening of a classic nineties teen movie. Several vocalists provide backing – including singer songwriter Gabrielle Aplin, who the duo have toured and collaborated with, and who notably features on every track in the EP.

Next up, “Travellin’” delves into blues and country territory, featuring a whole lot of harmonica and clapping to create a really staccato sound. Like a lot of their music, this one makes you feel like you could be in a van with them road-tripping somewhere with Alfie in the back on the guitar and Harry on the harmonica.

Old Soul” is the standout for me on this EP – there’s such a beauty in its simplicity. “I’m an old soul, you’re an old soul, we are dreamers… I believe in us” is repeated in melancholy harmonies with minimal accompaniment. For me this is what Hudson Taylor do best.

The final – and title – track, “Feel It Again”, closes out the EP like a dream. It’s atmospheric and powerful, and by the third play I found myself humming along. The pair sing “come on, let it in, cos you can’t feel love til you jump right in” and you find yourself right alongside them yelling as if you know exactly what they’re on about.

Though each song has its own unique style, what ties this EP together is the catchy choruses and lyrics about hope and love which seem an antithesis to all the gritty real life. Hudson Taylor are so brilliant at what they do, which is writing beautiful, memorable music that you can get a little bit lost in.

Purchase Hudson Taylor’s Feel It Again EP on iTunes here or stream it below.

Words by Bridget O’Donohue

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