Review: Jack Foley
SUPER-producer, Toby Wright (Alice in Chains, Korn and Kiss)
apparently pushed Taproot to write over 80 songs for their third
album, Blue Sky Research.
Only 13 made the cut - so expect plenty of bootlegs to appear
in the coming years.
For rock fans, however, this lucky 13 is an absolute God-send,
furthering the band's quest to explore hard rock's many textures
and delivering the goods on an epic scale.
Blue Sky Research combines the raw power of a Soundgarden or
Pearl Jam album, with a little bit of Korn thrown in.
It's ultra-heavy in places, including goth-like screaming at
certain places, but it is also richly layered, delivering more
than its fair share of commercial rock tracks that can be appreciated
What's more, it includes three collaborations with ex-Smashing
Pumpkins singer, Billy Corgan, who contribues to Lost In The
Woods, Violent Seas and Promise.
Needless to say, Violent Seas is one of the highlights
- a brooding, all-consuming rock epic that is packed with killer
hooks, a mighty chorus and wall of sound guitars.
The lyrics are typically emotive, including lines such as 'believing
in a chance of hope and see it slowly fade' or 'screaming for
a place to go, 'cause I'm drowning in the violent seas'.
Follow-up track, Birthday, is another gem, beginning
with a genuinely melodic guitar riff and building towards another
rousing, catchy chorus ('if I had just one more day, I'd tell
you everything, everything I had to say').
Calling, the first single to emerge from the album,
is a fiery mix of styles - building slowly during its verses,
before unleashing quite a furious chorus.
While the return of Corgan for Lost In The Woods provides
a refreshing calm after the onslaught of Forever Endeavor
and April Suits.
It remains a lively rock track but feels much more uplifting
than some of the more brooding material and contains plenty of
nods to the old Pumpkins style - making it one of the more wide-reaching
tracks on the album in terms of appeal.
Elsewhere, She registers strongly as a power-chord laden
semi-ballad, while Promise recalls some of the Foo Fighters'
style with its rolling guitar riffs and passionate lyrics.
Taken as a whole, therefore, Blue Sky Research is a
prolific rock album that really delivers something to cater for
One is only left to ponder what the remaining 67 tracks from
the Blue Sky Research sessions must have sounded like
- and whether we'll ever get to hear them.
I hope so!