The Legend of Kung Folk: Part 1 (The Killing Bite)
US: 16 Sep 2008
UK: 6 Apr 2009
Yes, Benjamin Taylor is the son of Carly Simon and James Taylor. No, he doesn’t sound like either of them. His latest album, The Legend of Kung Folk: Part 1 (The Killing Bite) is not only the martial arts-practitioner’s self-described style of hybrid combat, but also his own personal tao of sound. The nearest, approximate categorization for Taylor’s eclectic style would be reggae-flavored folk. Chances are, if you’re among the crowd that shops at Whole Foods, Ben Taylor’s latest offering may be right up your alley.
In spite of Taylor’s hard-to-pin-down style, The Legend of Kung Folk is an exercise in simplicity and very straight-forward in its approach. As a whole, the disc can get repetitive, however, there are flashes of brilliance. The slinking crawl of “Wrong” is a sharp contrast to the sad ode to needing space in a relationship titled (what else) “Space” with its modernized ‘70s feel. The disc’s standout piece, however is “Wicked Way”. Deceptively sweet and breathily masculine, the song is an appeal for no-strings-attached sex without the pretense of romance. Played and sung slow, soft, and sweet, it marks Benjamin Taylor as the anti-John Mayer: He has that approachably romantic air but is blatantly honest that he’s only in it for the nookie. You gotta like a guy with that level of frankness!