Our Long Road Home

Written by: PP on 22/11/2008 14:48:25

Of all the bands that survived the sudden collapse of the nu-metal movement, Taproot ranks as easily one of the best together with other alternative rock bands such as Chevelle. Since their major label debut "Gift" in 2000, the band has consistently put out the best releases in the genre, developing their sound album-by-album, which seemed to culminate with 2005's "Blue-Sky Research", the band's most consistent album to date. That was also their final major label album as the band is now on Velvet Hammer, but that hasn't changed their sound much, and "Our Long Road Home" essentially picks up where "Blue-Sky Research" left off.

"Path Less Taken" opens the album with the band's trademark chuggy chords that are simple, but oh-so-enjoyable in their nature. Vocalist Richard's gloomy clean voice draws parallels to Tool and Chevelle, and for the first time in a long while, he sends some heartscraping screaming our way after the introduction. As is almost always the case with Taproot songs, the chorus is ridiculously catchy and the most obvious single choice on the album. For some reason, though, the band has chosen the much softer "Wherever I Stand" as the lead single from the record, which at times sounds more like an (old) 3 Doors Down song than anything else. Don't worry though, the chorus is still quintessential Taproot with prolonged clean vocals delivered passionately. "Be The 1" is also a soft one, again drawing close parallels to Chevelle's calmer songs. "Hand That Holds True" is somewhat heavier, though still nowhere near as heavy as anything on "Welcome" or "Gift"; that we have "Take It" for, where Richards' throaty screaming sounds pretty similar to 36 Crazyfists. "It's Natural" is a somewhat experimental track with strange female vocals opening the song up. But really, this only lasts for a short while before the band returns to the trusted Taproot formula that relies on a slightly heavier sound to alternative rock than the norm. The real experimental stuff comes in the form of the all-electronic interlude track "Stethoscope", the purpose of which I'm having hard time understanding on this record. I'm feeling the same about "Run To" as well, which is so soft that it contests Hoobastank's "The Reason" as the softest 'nu-metal' track out there, and to be honest, it's crap.

Overall, "Our Long Road Home" is a mixed bag. It has about five or six songs worth of great tracks that all fans of "Blue-Sky Research" will like, but at some point during the record the choruses become less catchy, and the songs become less memorable overall as a direct consequence. Not terrible, but it's just not what we're used to from Taproot to date.


Download: The Path Less Taken, Take It
For the fans of: Chevelle, Adema, Evans Blue
Listen: Myspace

Release date 16.09.2008
Velvet Hammer

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