Album Review

Taylor McCall - Mellow War

From the moment it opens with the static-washed ‘Sinking Sand’ until it comes to a close with the sighing strings of ‘You To Blame’, the album aches like a letter home from a faraway war and burns like the feverish shouts from a sweltering pulpit.

Holler Country Music
February 6, 2024 4:57 pm GMT

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Taylor McCall - Mellow War

Label: Thirty Tigers

Producer: Taylor McCall & Sean McConnell

Release Date: February 2, 2024

Tracklisting:

1. Sinking Sand

2. Mellow War

3. Rest on Easy

4. Tide of Love

5. Rolling Stoned Again

6. Whiskey Costs Less

7. Star of the Morning

8. Angel Falling Down

9. Hard to Love You

10. I Want You Still

11. Born Again

12. You to Blame

There’s nothing like the strong stuff / There’s no better medicine,” Taylor McCall belts in his bleary-eyed ballad, ‘Rolling Stoned Again’. Just as a remedy can apply to any liquor or lover, the same can be said for music. With his sophomore release, Mellow War, the singer-songwriter has certainly provided us with the strong stuff.

A homage to McCall’s late grandfather, Vietnam veteran Reverend Russell Owen, Mellow War is a scrapbook of 12 songs, a profoundly intimate collection of memories and fantasies – moments shared and ones that could have been – all trimmed and decoupaged into one soul-stirring opus.

From the moment it opens with the static-washed ‘Sinking Sand’ until it comes to a close with the sighing strings of ‘You To Blame’, the album aches like a letter home from a faraway war and burns like the feverish shouts from a sweltering pulpit.

Much of the release plays like a gritty gospel – spirited yet heart-wrenchingly earnest – with the swaggering title track, the rousing ‘Rest On Easy’ and the blistering ‘Tide Of Love’ becoming hymns in their own right. However, there are also moments of delicious debauchery on the moody ‘Whiskey Costs Less’ and sweeping ‘Hard To Love You’, both acid-dipped and swirling in a holy trinity of blues, rock and psychedelia.

Many of the songs are meticulous and pensive, peppered with skill and confidence. Because of this, the album’s lighter offerings – the breezy ‘Angel Falling Down’ and dreamy ‘I Want You Still’ – unfortunately feel buried amidst the sonically and emotionally weighty collection.

Even still, there isn’t a track on the album that doesn’t stir something up from deep within. Rife with words that tug at the heart and sounds that tear at the flesh, Mellow War is a potent release. After all, McCall sang it himself: “There’s nothing like the strong stuff.”

8.5/10

Taylor McCall’s new project, Mellow War, is out now via Thirty Tigers.

For more on Taylor McCall, see below:

Written by Alli Patton
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