LEWIS TAYLOR - LEWIS II (2023 REISSUE)
NEW VINYL - PRE ORDER
Lewis II was the follow up to Lewis Taylor's epochal, self-titled debut album. It was initially released in 2000 and this double LP release, its first ever vinyl edition, has been heavily anticipated for nearly a quarter of a century. It's often years before most listeners catch up with an album's breathtaking vision and devastating execution, and so it has proved with Lewis II; it stands up exceptionally well today.
After Island rejected Lewis Taylor's second release (later released as The Lost Album), he returned to the studio to record Lewis II. Less esoteric than Lewis Taylor, Lewis II is a more polished, sophisticated funk and mature uptempo soul than the dark psych-soul of his debut. The production, whilst slicker, is a bit tougher, with more crisp, R&B-flavoured grooves and head-nod beats and more bass pumping up his voice. The vocal intensity present on album number one doesn't abate. Indeed, as Lewis himself noted, "my voice is better on Lewis II and the vocals are high in the mix."
The moody funk of "Party" sounds like a mad blend of Riot-era Sly Stone and Brian Wilson. It rides a stuttering drum machine groove with acapella harmony vocals arriving halfway through to stay for the duration. "My Aching Heart", with its clean, slick, late 90s R&B drums, could surely have been a single. Perhaps Lewis's idiosyncratic melodies would've been too challenging for the charts. Lewis *had hoped* "You Make Me Wanna" would be a single but the dank, organ-drenched groove, coupled with the growling eroticism of Lewis's vocals would've, again, made this beyond the pale for most mainstream music fans. Somewhat incongruous acidic synths and bleeps give way to a laconic summertime groove on breezy highlight "The Way You Done Me", all funky acoustic guitars and stunning, good-time vocals. Sumptuous ballad "Satisfied", a real fan favourite, marries unusual instrumentation with classic soul-ballad structure and closes with a monster guitar solo which almost out-Princes Prince in its gritty melodicism, set against sweeping strings of real majesty. Prog-Funk-Rock!