Possessing the same immediacy as his music with Hot Chip and the adventurousness of his work with About Group, there is a special intimacy to the lyrics of Alexis Taylor’s Await Barbarians, a simplicity and candour in his expression of emotion, though the moments of honesty are matched with a sense of humour, playfulness and fun.
Playing and recording all the instruments himself apart from strings, Taylor also presents a more reflective side of his writing and singing, which comes into focus in a more confident and defined manner than before. With its brushed cymbal-led quiet and solitude, and its startlingly direct recording approach, the album recalls in places the work of such English luminaries as Mark Hollis and Robert Wyatt. Recalling such recordings is one thing, but the record doesn't sound especially like those. Await Barbarians' soundworld is entirely Taylor's own - at times claustrophobic, synth-led and dry, and at others spacious, warm and homely, it always places Taylor's unique and recognizable vocals up front in the mix, rarely adorned by audible effects.
Await Barbarians is a record whose warm tones draw you in, whose sequencing asks of the listener an uninterrupted session of close listening, and whose sound world reminds us of the pleasures of all that is quiet in music. Itis rich in deep insight and profound feeling, a truly significant album by one of the country’s most continually arresting musicians.