What’s the deal with punk bands putting out arena rock, Springsteen-esque albums these days? Much like Gaslight Anthem and Against Me, AM Taxi is a band that has released an American rock album that sounds like they wrote it to be played in a stadium. Regardless, it is a strong album that puts a twist on its palpable classic rock influences.
The best part of the album is its flawless production. The production sounds raw and organic, as does singer Adam Krier’s voice. However, the weak spot is that sometimes Krier’s distinctive voice conjures thoughts of his older work as Lucky Boy’s Confusion’s frontman, which takes the focus off his new project. Furthermore, some of the lyrics on the album seem cheesy or strained, like in “The Mistake” when Krier sings “I’ll be the failure in your brakes / I am the truth you couldn’t take/ I am the mistake”.
“Woodpecker” is one of the strongest songs on the album. It opens with fast tempo drums and an awesomely catchy piano lead. Occasional gang vocals intensify the simple harmony. A concise bridge crescendos into a great close to the song as Kreir sings: “You do nothing but hurt me / But you do it right”. The straightforward lyricism paired with the clever musical composition makes for a song bound to stay in your head for days.
The album’s closing song “Champagne Toast,” is an ode to failed New Year’s resolutions. The seasonal acoustic track seems a bit misplaced on the quick-paced rock record. Although the song momentarily intensifies towards the end, it is a docile finish to the record. Based on the theme of the album, it’d be better suited to close with a more powerful anthem.
In the end, with a sound like The Replacements (austere vocals matched with upbeat instrumental arrangements), it’s hard not to like this record.
In A Word: Solid