EP: Phillip Jon Taylor – Supportive Partner Please Stand Here review

by Jo Higgs

Supportive Partner Please Stand Here is a slice of secluded paradise, which demonstrates the poetic abilities of its writer – all gift-wrapped in fuzzy guitars and lulling toms rolls

Having tired of the hustle and bustle of metropolitan living and the increasingly vulturous music industry, Phillip Jon Taylor elected to find some peace by moving back up to the Highlands where he spent his youth. Supportive Partner Please Stand Here is a slice of that secluded paradise – gift-wrapped in fuzzy guitars and lulling toms rolls. 

As the PAWS’ frontman stepped back from the world, he’s consequently stripped his sound back into a gentle (but instrumentally full) EP of indie-folk gems. Taylor’s vocals mature into a whispering perfection amid the folkier instrumentation of SPPSH and his other solo projects, signalling a change from PAWS, though certainly still junctioned by the heart-on-sleeve ethics of his writing.

Standout track, Satan Sent You a Friend Request, begins by teasing a trad a cappella ballad-like piece, before the growing stramash of piano, melodica and acoustic guitars seep into the mix. ‘With all that in mind / Remember to give back a little love sometimes,’ Taylor sings delicately, in a way that seems to sum up the project. 

The understated and wistful Fabulist provides another particularly stunning moment. It’s a testament to the poetic ability of Taylor: ‘Just watch the night fall / Like a hard handed arm with a gavel / This is a man who knows the difference between running water and disturbed gravel.’ The wonderful imagery is danced around by flickering arpeggios and drums that flutter in and out of the composition. Perhaps the man referenced in the song is the titular fabulist, but certainly Taylor is himself a fabulist of the highest standards. 

Each song is as mystical and captivating as the work as a whole is restorative and paradisiacal. Supportive Partner Please Stand Here truly beckons us into the highland cottage of its origins, or into a warm woodland nearby where stories can be sung openly and lovingly. 

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