For those of you with a keen ear, Kevin Bayliss was the vocalist with Voodoo Johnson, a Midlands-based hard rock band who released 2 EP’s and the excellent ‘10,000 Horses’, their 2010 debut album. These releases served to demonstrate the vocal prowess of Bayliss who decided to part company with the band citing the enemy of all musicians: ‘musical differences’.
However, not wishing to rest on his laurels Bayliss pulled together a group of musicians and set about writing and recording his debut solo album. And ‘The Project’ is the result of all those hours of soul searching and endeavour.
Within seconds of opening song ‘Your Hearts Desire’ it is evident that Bayliss has broadened his musical horizons and somewhat side stepped his heavy riffing hard rocking past. This however is by no means detrimental. The obvious thing to mention is the immediate similarity musically to pop rockers Savage Garden, the stripped down sound, the polished and heart felt vocals, and yes, Bayliss does sound eerily like Darren Hayes on more than one occasion
The formula for this album has clearly been laid out. The vocals are honest and take centre stage, messrs Lucky Singh, Nick Daniel, Kevin Bartlett and Kevin Drake keep things ticking away nicely, without ever overpowering Bayliss. Songs like ‘Quicksand’, and the wonderfully emotional and passionate ‘Falling Down’ flow into your ear drums like sound waves dipped in honey. Within minutes this album has become your new best friend.
The quality continues with the sort of song Bayliss can seemingly write in his sleep, the majestic ‘Starchaser’, and a further nod to Savage Garden with the tender ‘One Day Older’. But before you think it is all syrup and polish, the likes of the darker ‘My Sorry Cinderella’, a stomping track that moves up through the gears, and the tongue in cheek that is ‘Kung Fu Master’, which pays homage to martial arts without taking itself too seriously, serve to add variety to proceedings.
The strengths of Bayliss as a singer and songwriter are perfectly encapsulated with the soaring ‘All I Own’, once again musically it is stripped down allowing the lyrics to resonate beautifully, Bayliss cleverly bringing this heart felt song to an understated yet emotional crescendo.
So will fans of Bayliss’ hard rocking past be alienated by his more main-stream approach? I for one don’t think so. In fact, they will be rewarded for rediscovering an old friend who has released something very special indeed.
Track-listing; Your Hearts Desire / Quicksand / Falling Down / Starchaser / My Sorry Cinderella / One Day Older / The Beholder / Leave This Town / Kung Fu Master / All I Own / Revolution / Make A Difference
8 / 10