The week before I graduated from high school, I stumbled across AM Taxi’s 2010 album We Don’t Stand A Chance. I fell in love with it. I thought that album was perfect, and for the next four and a half years, I listened to it over and over again, waiting for their next release. Now, having just listened to their second EP of 2014, Bastard of the Deep Blue Sea, I find myself wondering if I had built up the band too much in my mind and if any effort by them could ever achieve the sentimental idealism that with which I view their first album. No, that’s not true. This EP fucking rocks!
Bastard of the Deep Blue Sea, running just over thirteen minutes, is neither a step up nor a step down from the quality or sound of We Don’t Stand A Chance – it’s the exact same formula, and it’s brilliant. The Chicago-based quartet is still a catchy, aggressive, and addictive blend of pop punk and that characteristic New Jersey rock sound – the only fault this release has is that, at parts, it sounds more like The Gaslight Anthem than it does AM Taxi.
“I Don’t Like Your Neighborhood” is an upbeat, rough-around-the-edges track, the driving guitars underscored by rock and roll piano and featuring the characteristic sing-a-long refrain that is a staple of vocalist Adam Krier’s songwriting. “Reckless in the Moonlight” is a feel-good party song that wouldn’t be out of place on pop radio or on the dance floor of a suburban house party. “Frostbit” is a well-crafted tune that demonstrates the heartfelt, emotional lyricism of Krier, as well as an unexpected-yet-impressive guitar solo.
“Seams” is probably the song that is closest to the sound of We Don’t Stand A Chance, featuring an ambient, dreamlike guitar intro that develops into one of those songs that just amps you up enough to scream your heart out, jumping up and down and beating your chest. On this track, everything falls into its right place – the energetic frenzy of drummer Chris Smith, the chugging guitars of Krier and Jay Marino, and the bass parts constructed by Jason Schultejann that manage to be so fluid and complex and yet are so rock solid that they provide a foundation for the entire group.
Bastard of the Deep Blue Sea is something that is so rare in today’s music world – it’s something that I actually would (and did) spend money on. AM Taxi has come out with an amazing EP, and I pray that it is an indication of what an upcoming album might sound like. Hats off to you, gentlemen.
01. I Don’t Like Your Neighborhood
02. Reckless in the Moonlight (feat. Genevieve)
Run Time: 13:18
Release Date: December 5, 2014
Check out the album ‘Bastard of the Deep Blue Sea’