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Taproot - Blue Sky Research


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 by anyone.

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 all tastes.

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!

 

Track listing:
1. I Will Not Fall for You
2. Violet Seas
3. Birthday
4. Facepeeler
5. Calling
6. Forever Endeavor
7. April Suits
8. Lost in the Woods
9. So Eager
10. She
11. Promise
12. Nightmare
13. Blue-Sky Research/What's Left

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