Taylor Mills is back. After recording and touring the globe with music legend Brian Wilson and releasing her critically acclaimed 2007 debut, "Lullagoodbye" she returns with her alluring and unforgettable sophomore effort, "Under The Surface." No doubt you've heard her strong yet disciplined emotional vocals and this exceptional collection of new songs is another testament to her musical prowess.
Mills has spent the better part of ten years in Brian Wilson's band, called by Sir Paul McCartney as "The best touring band in the world. Period." She now returns with the same team that produced "Lullagoodbye" which critics called "a stunning and thrilling pleasure" and "superior sunshine pop/rock." As Mills explains, "Working with Scott Bennett (band mate in Brian Wilson's band, co producer) and Todd Sucherman (Mills' husband, co producer and drummer for the platinum selling STYX) is such a creative joy. It just feels like everything is in the right place and it makes the process of making music exciting and rewarding. Hopefully that spirit is passed along to the listener."
"Under The Surface" is her new release for 2009 and like her previous effort runs a gamut of emotions with lyrical and aural scenery that become more intriguing with every listen. "I think records that grow on you over multiple plays are the ones that ultimately mean more to you over the years. I know I feel that way. You have to work for it, in a sense, because something that is 'instantly catchy' can often be shallow or become boring quickly." Mills continues, " There's something special about hearing a song for the fourth or fifth time and realizing that you are falling in love with that song. It's almost a microcosmic feeling of actually falling in love with a slow burn."
Perhaps this gives us an insight to the album's title. "Well, perhaps" she explains. "It's also about various struggles that people deal with regularly like conflicts with love, self, relationships, loss, dreams and ambitions. Just under the surface of the facade we show people in daily life, there could be issues brewing that need to be dealt with----and these are some of the issues that the characters in the songs have to face and ultimately overcome."
With songs mostly penned by collaborator Scott Bennett, "Under The Surface" also includes a song by long time friend and ex-Falling Wallendas band-mate Allen Keller as well as a remake of "I Wanna Stay Home" by the Beach Boys influenced band "Jellyfish." Keller's contribution, "St. Louis Misery" is a heart aching confession of adultery sweetly sung by Mills. "Melody" has the story of an aging singer seeing the spotlight drift away and contains the thought, "dreams don't age gracefully." Taylor is an emotional powerhouse on "Kiss My Soul" and "Best Intentions" but never flaunts her chops instead using them at the perfect time for an emotional swell. The collection's most upbeat moment comes with the up-tempo "Living Room" co written by Bennett and Drake Bell, from the popular Nickelodeon show "Josh and Drake." "If We Let Go" is a sultry, smoky duet between Mills and Bennett that features Brian Wilson band mate Probyn Gregory on Flugelhorn and Sucherman's jazzy touch on the drums.
"This might be a slightly mellower, more piano driven record than the last one" Mills explains. "The whole creative process was much faster this time due to working in the holes of our touring schedule and the fact we have our own studio now." "Under The Surface" is another showcase for Mills' range as singer/storyteller and lets collaborators Bennett and Sucherman shine as well.
Scott Bennett has spent his tenure in Brian Wilson's band along side Taylor Mills and has worked on various TV shows and other musical projects. In 2008 he co-wrote and co-produced Brian Wilson's "That Lucky Old Sun" which included Taylor's talents as well as Sucherman on drums. The release received 4 stars in Rolling Stone and Mojo magazines. Todd Sucherman continues to hold the drum chair in the band STYX and still makes time for other recording and performing duties. In the 2009 Modern Drummer magazine reader's poll he was voted #1 rock drummer and his dvd "Methods and Mechanics" which featured songs from Lullagoodbye was voted #1 instructional DVD.
Can we look forward to more from Mills in the near future? "I hope so but for now my commitment is to Brian and the band. We'll be touring some more this year and it's an honor to perform that music with him--- someone who's one of the 20th century's greatest composers. But with "Under The Surface" I feel like this record is where I'm at now and we'll take our time before embarking on another effort. I'm proud of this record. I feel nothing on it is dated or kitschy. Ultimately at the end of the day we have to be proud of what we've done and that's what matters most."
"Under The Surface" is another stunning accomplishment from Taylor Mills and her crew, sure to charm and engage listeners with that emotional slow burn she desires. We said hello to Taylor with "Lullagoodbye" and now we get a deeper, more intense look at her "Under The Surface."
Under The Surface released on Aqua Pulse Records Oct 2009
TaylorMills.com (official website)