Tuesday, August 24, 2010

AM Taxi Hits Hard With We Don't Stand A Chance

AM Taxi is one of those bands that the first time you hear a tune from them, you immediately want to hear more. Now with the release of a major label debut, We Don't Stand A Chance, I've been doing just that.

Hailing from Chicago, AM Taxi was kicking around for a couple years until a stroke of good luck (mixed with hard luck) changed their fortunes. Suddenly, they earned a spot on the Virgin Records artist roster.

Nowadays, AM Taxi's album title is almost ironic. The band is getting every chance in the world to prove it belongs in the big leagues.

AM Taxi Makes Sense In A Mixed Up World.

There are slew of influences across the 11-track album. You'll hear modern pop, old school punk, world beaty-type stuff, and even a little bit of the British invasion. Inspiration for the songs seems to come from everywhere: from the Police and Springsteen to the Ramones and the Replacements.

What makes it all work is that AM Taxi embraces their influences without being trite or a retread of somebody else. You can credit the members for staying true to who they are: Adam Krier, vocals/guitar; Jason Schlutejann, bass; John Schmidt, guitar/backing vocals; Chris Smith, drums/backing vocals; and Luke Schmidt, keyboards/backing vocals.

Krier is the guy penning the lyrics to excellent effect. Dead End Street is full of restlessness, unemployment, and worries about the current state of the world. Charissa is about a toxic relationship with a girl enabler. The is almost an homage to Paul Westerberg. “I am the anecdote you spill.”

Across the album, you'll find more of the same. Their first two singles, Fed Up and The Mistake, provided the perfect introduction for a powerful collection. Every song is truthful, creative, and imaginative. They are also based on the band's personal experiences.

Musically, you won't find any gimmicks. There are some power chords, but what makes these songs powerful is that they relate to the way people feel right now. The band's experiences seem to be mirroring America.

Another tidbit you'll find interesting is that We Don't Stand A Chance was an old school production spearheaded by Mike McCarthy (Patty Griffin, Spoon). The album was mostly cut live in the studio on a reel-to-reel.

What I like is that the band wasn't looking for a perfect, polished sound. Everybody seemed to be aiming for the spirit of a live performance, excitement and imperfections included. This plays to the band's strengths.

AM Taxi Pulls Up With An 8.7 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

The band has been touring regularly to promote the album. They’ll be doing more of the same in September, with stops in Arizona, Texas, Missouri, Wisconsin, and their Windy City home. If you're lucky enough to catch them, do so. After listening to the album, you already have a sense of what you will hear.

On iTunes, more than 100 people have given We Don't Stand A Chance by AM Taxi a hard-earned 5 stars. On Amazon, We Don't Stand A Chance earns the same. It's amazingly near perfect as a debut.

Virgin Records has also released some videos worth checking out. The Mistake is one, but embedding is turned off. On Facebook, you can sample even more from AM Taxi.
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