Everyone loves a good record that makes you feel like you're driving into a Californian sunset. That's Maria Taylor's new record In The Next Life. Filling to the brim with bluesy, gentle indie rock track, Taylor channels wanderlust and her memories into her music.
In The Next Life is Maria Taylor's sixth record, so her sound has reached a developed form by now. 'Home' introduces the record on a sweet note, the piano chords calmly bringing the album to its beginning. Taylor sweetly chants "We traveled into the twilight, watched the canyons turn to peaks" in a very reminiscent timbre. The song's slow build gives it a very wanderlust vibe, the lyrics accentuated by the dreamy instrumental. 'Free Song' follows up with a less adventurous vibe, a desert rock track paired up with the blues to make a similarly scened track. Listening to this song makes you want to go out with friends and have a party in the twilight of a Californian desert.
Everything about In The Next Life screams California, but there's a personal message to some tracks. 'If Only' is a very personal track for Taylor, its lyrics recalling a sweet past love in a very reminiscent way. The song features sweet harmonies from Bright Eyes vocalist Conor Oberst, giving the song two sides and a nice male voice to provide some color. The same is true about 'While The Rest Of Me Is Waking Up,' the sweet acoustic guitar carried by a very light brush beat and beautiful orchestras as Taylor sings sweetly about love.
The instrumentals and structures of this song give the album some extra edge. There's several different flavors on the record, from the bluesy vibes of 'Free Song' and 'A Good Life' to the sweet melodies of 'Flower Moon.' The album ends on 'Pretty Scars,' perhaps the prettiest and rawest tracks on the record. The song is about everyone she loves and people who made her life complete: her parents, from the day she was born, ("A singer and a teacher, who at the time were a perfect fit / They gave me what I needed to go out on the road / And their song still rings like an echo"), her first love, who taught her "what the dark was for," and her first child, whose "heart stopped beating right before [he] was alive." This is by far the rawest and purest moment on the entire record, Taylor's undying love of her lost child told beautifully among the dreamy instrumental, harmonies building up before her first children are born; twins: "they were born on the first of May, once and twice again... I thought I knew of love, but kind of knocked you off of your feet, but man, I didn't know anything." And just as sweetly as it began, her memories float off into her dreamy soundscape of the song as they began.
In The Next Life is an album that really leaves you something to think about. It's beautifully crafted, Maria Taylor channeling all her dreams and closest and important memories into the record. It's something you can put on for a sunset drive or something you can put on during a cold foggy morning just to think. In The Next Life is a record with two sides, and both of them are fantastic.
Favorite Tracks: Pretty Scars, Home, Free Song, While The Rest Of Me Is Waking Up
Least Favorite Track: There's Only Now
Rating: 85 / 100
Buy or listen to In The Next Life here: