The Taxpayers - To Risk So Much For One Damn Meal (2010)

(Includes album art, lyrics, explanations, and all sorts of other stuff.  Donate to support the band!)

1. The Windows Break
2. And the Damn Thing Bit Him!
3. Rapid Movements in a Bottle
4. Everything is Awful
5. Geodesic Prison Song
6. Louisiana Hot Sauce Rainy Nights
7. Everybody Just Stood There
8. The Cold Front
9. A Matter of Simple Deduction
10. Some Kind of Disaster Relief
11. It Gets Worse Every Minute
12. My Brother Isn't Dying
13. Let the Wheels Turn Slowly

This record was sent in to us by the band to review.  The Taxpayers are from Portland, OR and play folky-ska-punk with lots of influences from all over the place including bluegrass, swing, blues, and some hardcore.  They have about a billion people in the band who play all sorts of instruments on this recording (probably not on tour) including the accordion, mandolin, saxophone, harmonica, and your traditional band instruments.  

I'm going to be up front and say this type of music isn't traditionally my cup of tea, but if you enjoy bands like Bomb the Music Industry! or Andrew Jackson Jihad or Fake Problems, you will probably love this.  I think it is very successful in capturing that sound that those bands are going for and the lyrics are earnest and intelligent.  For me, their sound is too all over the place and somehow still doesn't sound full.  That could be an issue with the recording as in their email they informed me it was recorded in a plethora of different places.  The album doesn't really flow well, as each song sounds like a contained piece of work. I also think the shorter "in between" songs are fairly unnecessary, despite having good lyrics and fairly interesting melodies.  I feel like they are almost unfinished and add a sort of hiccup to the overall feel of the record.  This record shows promise however, and a lot of parts and the way the songs are arranged remind me of The World/Inferno Friendship Society (a favorite of mine).  I think this album is missing the great poppy hooks and melodies that the World/Inferno records have or AJJ has on his records.  I really enjoy how ambitious this album is and they definitely have an aesthetic they are going for and achieving.  The song "Geodesic Prison Song" sounds like a Blatz song almost, which rules.  Other standout tracks are: "And the Damn Thing Bit Him!" and "Everybody Just Stood There" and "Cold Front."  The singer's voice is great, but I can't help draw comparisons to both Bomb the Music Industry! and Fake Problems, which could be a compliment or a detractor based on your opinions of those bands.  Anyways, I bet this band is raucous and full of energy live and tons of fun.  Especially if they do end up going out with a ton of people playing for them.

Don't get me wrong, I think this is a fine record for what it is, but I think they need some work if they want to rise above a sub genre and start making unique and truly great music.  Despite what I may think, they put a lot of heart and soul into this release and it definitely shows and is absolutely worth a listen.  FFO: Bomb the Music Industry! Fake Problems, Gaslight Anthem, Anything on Plan-it-X Records.

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