Excellent pop music - filled with melody and substance, lacking in
the cheap production tricks of the day - is becoming more and more
rare in these days of independent releases vs. major label drudgery.
Taxi Doll takes the synthesized beauty of the 1980s and melds
it with the electronica trends of the late '90s/early 2000s to create
pop that is indisputably indie, while maintaining the clean production
normally reserved for major label releases. Not since Freezepop
burst on to the scene with their vintage-fresh brand of techno-pop
have keyboards sounded so good as they do on Here And Now.
The difference, of course, is that indie bands like Freezepop sound
like indie bands, their production is coarser and more intimate,
their songs focused solely on synthesizers and vocals. Taxi Doll
makes the process a bit more modern-radio friendly. "Come To
Me" is synthy bliss, with a rhythmic chugging that is reminiscent
of the 80's works of Pat Benatar, and the sounds are cleanly
gritty, focused and sharply dynamic, exactly like the best of pop
music should be. "Follow Lead" does away almost entirely
with synthesizers, incorporating excellent, tight guitar parts courtesy
of Matt Emmer that perfectly offset the bright rhythms and
Dhana's beautiful vocals. This track could almost be what
No Doubt could have been had they taken a different path
than the pop-punk tomfoolery they did; the vocals and rhythmic interplay
reminds the ear of Gwen Stefani's ultimately unrealized possibilities.
"Give You More" would be at home in any dance club tonight
the breakbeats and fractured synthesizer lines are intriguing and
more than a little danceable. The band slows things down and jazz
things up just a touch on the beautifully epic "Winter"
before hitting a nice mid-tempo stride on songs like "Strange
Rush" before rocking out the back-end of the record with closing
track "Soft Kill"; a track that alternates between four-on-the-floor
dance-house rhythms and softer instrumental breaks, creating the
tension essential to the greatest of music. Taxi Doll are possibly
one of the most listenable and tight pop groups in existence right
their music is brash and creative, without any of the
schmaltz or over-done disco trickery of most modern pop. You wouldn't
see this band on American Idol, either
too darn good.
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