Australian singer/songwriter Taylor Henderson has a lot to write home about. The 21 year old placed third on Australia’s Got Talent series four in 2010 (runner-up to his own father, Cameron), and three years later he went on to take out second place on the fifth series of X Factor Australia; his second coming led to being signed to Sony and his first release Taylor Henderson was accredited Aus platinum. Not long after the release of his debut studio album, Henderson began to work on something special; Burnt Letters will be his sophomore effort, a collection of entirely original songs, some written by Taylor.
The girls have already squirmed over lead single When You Were Mine, Taylor’s second platinum selling single, a folk/pop track with a boyish sweet-heartedly sung verse and an addictive chorus; second single Already Gone isn’t as memorable, but it still has a nice stripped back feel and a chance for Henderson to show off that high range of his. There’s a fuller sound within Sail Away, it continues the way in which Henderson’s pop melodies have been backed by folk instrumentations; Brighter Days is a bit tiring, it’s the typical “I’m with you/You’re not alone” pop mush you expect to hear from an ex-talent show contestant. More sappiness with the upbeat Worth Fighting For, and it was nice to hear the piano take the lead for ballad Host Of Angels.
Piece By Piece’s melody is repetitive, even when Henderson sings notes slightly louder towards the end it just didn’t cut it; somebody else is too good to be true for Taylor in the pop/folk explosion Close To Nothing, and he doesn’t want to lose what he’s found as he sings the guitar ballad Matter Of Time like a bird. The Best Part has a curious percussion and guitar picking heard in the verses, it’s the best part of the song really, the hook sounds as if it should be the chorus of an electro/pop song. We finally are treated to a song with a different sound; Taking Back strays a little more from the sweet, innocent sound we have experienced throughout the album and presents us with a Taylor Henderson that delivers a head strong melody with empowering lyrics. Title track Burnt Letters drags the album out to an inevitable end.
There is no doubt that Taylor Henderson has possibly one of the best, and now most recognised voices the country of Australia has to offer; Burnt Letters isn’t bad for his first stint at releasing original material. It’s very hard to listen to this album and not think that most tracks are borderline similar, however Henderson does manage to show off that voice of his to reassure us that he indeed has talent and almost had the X Factor. Burnt Letters wasn’t an entirely bad release and is only the first dose of Taylor’s original material; perhaps it would have been better served as an EP featuring When You Were Mine, Already Gone, Sail Away and Taking Back.