Combining evocative essences of indie, rock, and electro pop into a refreshing and infectious sound, The Tax is a band set to garner major attention nationwide especially with the forth coming release of debut album Eternia. The London quintet certainly set attention and enthusiasm in motion with the release of their first EP Someone Is Watching You nearing the end of last year and with their full length release confirm and push all the positive thoughts and emotions already gathered towards them into fully blown acclaim.
Formed in early 2012 and featuring ex-members of successful group The Betarays, a band which wowed audiences at such places as the famous Cavern Club in Liverpool and became the Famegames and Meer music band of the year in 2011, The Tax offers an intelligent and contagious brew of irresistible pop and synth warmth with a sinewy spine from the towering rhythm section. The new album is an easily accessible release but one which is rich in thought and carefully crafted, using defined washes of melodies and inciting invention rather than easy cheap tricks to capture the heart. The more you listen to it the better it sounds too making it one of the first essential releases of the year.
Produced by acclaimed producer Tim Hamill, who has worked with the likes of The Manic street Preachers, Duffy and the Stories, the album instantly lures you in with the opening dawn of groaning synths of first track Am I Ever Gonna Get You Back. Turning into a melodic stroll which echoes eighties hard rock and new wave electro pop of an Aha, an uncertainty is initially brewed but soon dispelled as the vocals of George Hill and their renowned quality adds real expression to the now intriguing song aided wonderfully by the warm vocal tones of bassist Katy Zee. With all elements in place the track expands into a pop rock journey of imagination. The keys of Peter Jennings dominate the song without defusing or overriding the pulsating bass strokes of Zee or the punchy beats of drummer Peter Randazzo and the guitar textures of Stevie Watts. It is a strong start to the album which like the release grows on the emotions but in hindsight after the following charge of excellent creativity, is a mere tasty appetizer.
The following Heartbreak. London. UK leaps at the ear with its vibrant chorus starting things off. It immediately has one infected and ready to join the cause as Hill steps forward to paint a lyrical picture accompanied by thumping rhythms. The keys bring light to the shadows told before unleashing a heated dazzling with the great vocal harmonies and returning anthemic chorus in tow. The song is a masterful slice of indie pop which never rests on its laurels, the sizzling guitar solo and multi vocal sweeps simply immense flourishes.
The chilled ballad like I Am Never Alone continues the growing diversity of the album, its emotive breath an initial whisper over the senses from the impressive vocals and tender weaves of keys. Moving into a stronger almost sinewy presence the track envelopes and draws willing thoughts and emotion into its expressive heart with ease. Though a less forceful and more provocative track The Tax still wrap it in an infection causing air which will not take no for an answer. The same goes for its successor We Tell You A Lie, one of the towering highlights on the album. Again the eighties new wave/rock elements shine especially with the explosive chorus and harmonies though it is the caging beats of Randazzo and the sensational bass resonance and darkened elegance conjured by Zee which earned the greatest acclaim. As with many songs the band forges a mesh of rock and melodic pop which is stunning, each element allowed free rein within a mutual and equally sharing companionship.
Through the likes of the South Of The Border with its heated passion and the piano led ballad You Have Justified Me, the album enthrals and pleases generously but keeps its greatest moments for the tracks There’s No Time, Young, Empty And To Blame, and I’m A User. The first is a romping irresistible surge of eager riffs, jabbing rhythms, and hungry energy which recruits feet and voice early on into its vibrant rock pop dance. The second of the three is equally as compulsive, the vocal duelling outstanding and the synths a swirling weave of golden caresses and thrilling beauty. The bass of Zee again sends tingles where they should not be and the song explodes in the heart like a mix of Betarays, Secret Affair, and dare one whisperings of The Kinks and The Beatles. I’m A User is a delicious track of energy and warmth with again a sixties wind to its pop sails which just lights up emotions and the senses.
Ending on the first single from the album, Motorway, which is released on BYmonster records on the 21st of January and marked by a gig at Broadcast in Glasgow on the 24th, Eternia is a striking and thoroughly impressive piece of true pop music. The track itself is a satisfying and catchy encounter which will recruit a great many and it is easy to see why it was chosen to lead though personally with stronger and even more infectious tracks to be found on the fabulous album another track would have been our choice.
Eternia is a forceful recommendation from us and the proof that real pop is not found in the force fed mire of blandness brought by the popular media and giant labels but alive and innovatively kicking in the underground sounds of the country with The Tax right to the fore.
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