Review: Hudson Taylor – Singing for Strangers


A display of inspiring harmonic, acoustical talent in a great debut album.

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After years of EP releases – and a performance at SUSU’s The Bridge – the Irish folk duo, Hudson Taylor, have released their debut album. Taking inspiration from their early days of busking, the album has been aptly named Singing for Strangers which couldn’t reflect the band’s nature in a better way. The Dublin-born brothers have an incredible connection with harmonic voices and form of guitar playing that is a pleasure to listen to. Singing for Strangers is, ultimately, a seemingly perfect compilation of singles from previous EP’s and new tracks.

Introducing listeners to the album is ‘Just a Thought’, a new track perfectly depicting the brother’s harmonic ability and acoustic talent. The fast paced and joyful song flows perfectly through to the second track ‘Butterflies’, released in the 2012 EP Cinematic Lifestyle. The combination of new and old welcomes any listener into this promising debut album.

Arguably the highlight of the album is one of the duo’s 2014 singles, ‘Chasing Rubies’. The single is an incredibly uplifting track, opening with an interesting harmonic riff followed by passionate verses from brother Alfie and incredible harmonic choruses from them both. Despite the – perhaps rather cliché – message of committing love to an almost stranger, the track is definitely one of the album’s strongest components.

After two previous singles, it would be easy to forget this is Hudson Taylor’s brand new album. Thankfully two new tracks, ‘Night Before the Morning After’ and ‘Wildfires’, keeps the album flowing and acts to remind listeners of the duo’s musical diversity. This is then contrasted with the following three, previously released, tracks: ‘Weapons’, ‘Care’ and 2012 single, and 2014 re-mastered, ‘Battles’.

Three brand new tracks finish the debut album which, before release, had received very limited live coverage other than the occasional festival appearance. Ending with ‘Off the Hook’, the album concludes with a reminder of Hudson Taylor’s acoustic talent with interesting guitar picking patterns and, as always, perfect harmonic melodies.

Overall, the album seems to act as a summary of the previous four years of achievement by the Irish folk duo. It reflects how far they have come from busking on the streets of Dublin to becoming recognised artists. At such an early stage in their career, they have an impressive mountain of musical material at their dispense. Despite being repetitive at times, the album cannot be faulted. The pure pleasure the brothers receive from playing and writing music cannot be doubted and Singing for Strangers is a must for any folk or acoustic music lover.

Singing for Strangers is out now via Polydor Records.



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