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Taxi Doll
Here And Now
Antidote Media
www.taxidoll.com


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 now… 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… they're just too darn good.

-L. Keane

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