James Taylor : Before This World


96kHz/24-bit FLAC, Concord Records 35270 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)

Hey, guess what? This sounds just as you’d expect from James Taylor – warm, charming, folksy in instrumentation, vocals and lyrics, and above all wistfully, reassuringly – well, James Taylor. As he sings on ‘You And I Again’, ‘I can’t escape this feeling/That we’ve been this way together, you and I’, anyone expecting something revolutionary will be sorely disappointed. But then this mix of fine performances and closely-observed recordings is the perfect milieu for what is both Taylor’s first new work for well over a decade and an unashamedly nostalgic look back over his life. Yes, he still has the ability to challenge, as he does on ‘Far Afghanistan’, but even this is hardly breaking new ground. Kick back, relax, and enjoy – both the guitar-playing and the voice are miraculously well-preserved, and the whole set breezes past in what seems like minutes. AE

Sound Quality: 85%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

While lighting the 96kHz LED on your DAC, the bandwidth of this file rolls off at a slightly premature 40kHz. With multiple recording venues comes variable noise and spuriae, here at 11kHz, 18kHz, 23kHz and 32kHz. PM