Review: Tyler Carter – Leave Your Love EP

tyler_carter

Hayley Williams. Patrick Stump. Travie McCoy. Brendan Urie. The Warped Tour scene has produced a handful of household-name vocalists over the past decade. Frontmen and women who possess the charisma and vocal chops to hold their own amongst the mainstream crowd and be recognized apart from the bands that made them famous. This sort of transition isn’t common, but it’s not impossible, either.

Tyler Carter has been on the cusp of a breakthrough of similar proportions for a few years now. Ever since his departure from Atlanta metalcore act Woe, Is Me in late 2011, Carter has been in pursuit of a pop crossover. After releasing a few solo singles, he was once again reined back into the post-hardcore circuit and reunited with former partner in crime Michael Bohn in the form of Issues.

That band has since gone on to become a scene sensation, thanks in large part to Carter’s smooth croon amidst the crushing breakdowns. His constant guest appearances on tracks by other scene contemporaries have aided in expanding his fame, but he seemingly has yet to have a big breakthrough.

Enter Leave Your Love, the new solo EP by Carter, released by Rise Records. Yes, it’s only six tracks, and no, it doesn’t include any of his past material. What this long-awaited solo endeavor does do is give Carter a chance to shine on his own stage and perhaps serve as a launching pad for Tyler Carter the brand.

Leave Your Love is a solid effort, to be sure. It’s nothing like anything you’ll hear released on Rise Records this year, and it’s certainly a departure from the heavy crunch of Issues and Woe, Is Me. Instead, you’ll be getting a whole lot of Carter’s syrupy smooth delivery across an array of relaxed R&B beats

Take opener “Sophisticated”, a groovy synth-driven track that goes down easy. Here we find Carter serenading that special lady with his signature bravado and melismatic delivery. Even when he’s singing lines like, “Pretty face, nice thighs” or “If you fancy and you know it / Got your Louis bag to show it”, you can’t help but sing along. The pleading title track adds fantastic percussion and keys to the mix, and takes a more serious thematic turn.

In fact, much of the rest of Leave Your Love follows suit, showcasing an intriguing maturity. Lead single “Georgia” feels as authentic as anything Carter has ever put out and wouldn’t sound that out of place on The 20/20 Experience. By the time he delivers the explosive line of, “By the morning light, she’ll leave” right as the chorus hits, you can feel the corner being turned. This is Tyler Carter primed for the big stage, executing the best vocal work of his career.

While “So Slow” could do without the wispy spoken word vocals that open the track, the bass filled beat makes you move, as does Carter’s sultry chorus of “When we dance so slow / By the way we dance, you’ll know”. His chopped vocal samples atop the bridge serve as an extra instrument, blending into their surroundings and contribute a unique sound that lands miles away from his metalcore offerings.

You get the feeling that with the right producers and the right co-writers, the silver-tongued Carter could hold his own amongst the Timberlakes and Ushers of the world. If you think that’s an overstatement, try to name another vocalist in this scene that can match his charisma and range. Even Jonny Craig’s past solo material has been littered with missteps and odd stylistic choices. A great voice can only get you so far.

To truly cross over, it takes a charm, a vision and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone. Along with his golden voice, Tyler Carter possesses a certain magnetism and ability to shapeshift that’s hard to come by. Leave Your Love may not be the release that breaks him big, but rest assured, he’s dangerously close to the tipping point and he’s only 23 years old. It’s only a matter of time.

4/5

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

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