Review Summary: "Mommy, can you make that boy leave? He's creeping me out..."
Taproot, are a band that to me just drift right outside of that mainstream cult of bands. You know like back in the summer of your youth, probably when you were twelve and on a Wednesday, there was that one kid who circled the pool because he didn’t have any friends to swim with. Well that’s what Taproot come off across to me as, and judging by some of their pictures it looks like all these guys have suffered that lonely role at one point in their lives. This easily explains why they still can’t manage to grow up and release something that still isn’t clinging to the late90’s/early 00’s angst days. In the past most of their releases were unfortunately bogged down by overly childish lyrics or overly hysteria induced melodies and singing signatures provided by a breath of fresh air, singer Stephen Richards.
Their newest release Our Long Road Home
came out of the blue to me. I remember listening to the radio (gasp!) one delightful day and being surprised to hear a new Taproot single. I can distinctly recall turning up the dial to see if the news was true, as I had long forgotten about this band as I’m sure the rest of the world had. They hadn’t released anything with staying power in the past and felt more like the Herpes of the music world, rearing it’s ugly head every now and then to contract some new and old listeners. Thankfully every time I listened to these guys I was far from impressed and never willing to take them home and have myself become infected. There aren’t many changes here, as Taproot try to adapt to the times today, finally incorporating some melody but with obvious hesitation.
Right off the bat the album gets boring as Path Less Taken
opens with some heavy dissonant chords but then levels off at the verse and stays in the realm of awkwardness. Everything is rehashed for the band, as we have applied screams at all the right places and lyrics to boil anyone’s blood. Halfway through the song though, you’ll notice that Taproot have completely toned down on their trends to stray from melody and catchiness as the opener shows some rhythm with its bite. First single Wherever I Stand
steals a page right out of Hoobastank and Trapt’s book, with its soothing intro and bouncing drum beats. Richardson pours his heart out with a rare positive outlook; singing “ Wherever I stand, You're the one, Who'll be right there with me, Wherever I land, You're the one, Who'll be there to break my fall
”, catchy, mainstream , and completely simple its one of the albums highlights but also marks the end of the bands little originality.
Other Album highlight It’s Natural
brings us back to the days of Gift with its strange vocal deliveries and eerie riffs, but absolutely breaks any progression with its tiredly cliché chorus. Here is where my main problem with this cd arises. Often most of the time the band sounds more comfortable going into that realm of unpredictability, but while treading those waters they typically reuse the same techniques leading to a predictability of the earlier said unpredictable. Frustrating? It really is listening to this, as I’m not trying to like this band any time soon, but I can’t help but notice what a better and more unique sound this band could have had they stayed with what sounds so natural for them.
is a beautiful ballad that’s able to incorporate the bands sound into an already fitted mold, rather than trying to shape the mold around them as they do with most of this disc. Offering the best the best lyrics, were given a more relatable side of the band; done away are the abstract and incohesive lyrics that don’t match the mood of the song“ When all is said and done, I'm still behind you, The past is come and gone just move on through, No matter when it is you come to see, Who you want to be
Musically, nothing really strikes one as needing a repeat listen, though some of the melodies did stay stuck in my head, like Hand That Holds True
. This also shows a growth into that area of distinct areas border lining pop, most noted in the former. Other than the few interesting effects that guitarist Mike DeWolf tries to pull off, they’re very very
very short in their moments as he settles for simple and uninspiring riffs to back the boring timing and beats of drummer Jarrod Montague and practically non-existent bassist Jarrod Montague.
Last Word: Things got interesting for a little bit on Blue-Sky Research
and for the most part I thought, we’d land in this predictable boring area that Taproot now find themselves in. As usual in times like these, it’s always worse to have your fears confirmed and in this case its above and beyond so. Tracks worth mentioning include; Hand That holds True
, Run To