Released: September 8
Back with his first solo album in over 30 years, Andy Taylor’s ‘Man’s A Wolf To Man’ is a fine showcase of the Duran Duran legend’s faultless musicianship.
Dating back over half a decade, it’s a record that’s had numerous iterations, but after experiencing a global pandemic and his own terminal cancer diagnosis, is among the most worldly material of his career.
“Man’s A Wolf To Man is pretty apt now,” he reflects. “Having lived there, had kids there, had an amazing career there, I know America very well. And when you watch the breakdown, and the extremes of it, how quickly people became vicious enemies. Well, ‘Man’s A Wolf To Man’ is about how man is his own worst enemy and will behave like a pack of wolves towards his other human enemy.
“What we saw bubbling when I started writing, it was all about getting even – why do you get so mad trying to get even? Why do people get angry? Why don’t they just do better themselves? I was getting back to making records that are human, about something that mattered or matters, that are in the moment.”
The title song introduces a sonic landscape that’s instantly evocative of his early solo efforts, his vocal largely unchanged and the raw edge of his unique brand of rock and roll symbolic of a time gone by, before technological advancements sanitised that classic sound.
A DIY project at its core, mostly conceived and recorded at his home studio in Ibiza, tracks like Did It For You, Gettin’ It Home and Gotta Give bring a live sound to the album, with Taylor – who’s vocal contributions to the record only grew as the recording process continued – sounding at one with the instrumentation.
Influential Blondes is an intentionally unpolished cut, channelling ‘90s guitar and grunge, with a distorted vocal that sounds fresh from a garage jam session – a good thing, it should be said – while Reaching Out To You is among the more idiosyncratic numbers, with spiky guitars and whirling electronics adding a new dimension to the record. This Will Be Ours could be a Traveling Wilburys tune.
On the flipside there’s Trying To Get Even, a duet with Tina Arena and an early standout on the record, with the Aussie star not only pushing the guitarist’s vocal capabilities to new limits, but their blend a perfect pairing that elevates the country-rock number to one of the finest moments on the collection.
Ending with a haunting reprise of the title song, not only does it bring the record full circle and reinforce the concept at large, but serves as a final reminder of Taylor’s brilliance – a key contributor to Duran Duran’s earliest hits – with his new collection a long-overdue reintroduction to a musician who, as one-fifth of a defining band of the ‘80s, helped shape the landscape of pop music for decades to come.