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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Taxi Violence - Long Way From Home

Taxi Violence has taken a turn for the better.

The band's strongest claim to stardom has always been an electric live set – electric in the sense that it is high-voltage energy on a stick of short-fused dynamite – and though the album work hasn't been bad per se, it gave a muted impression of a band that's actually a lot better under lights than in a CD player.

Not so with Long Way from Home, which almost reverses the image completely. It's easily their best complete album to date, bound together more holistically than the harder singles-generating efforts from before.

If there is a track that rises out from the rest, it's the new "Devil & Pistol" and the title track "Long Way from Home", though very marginally. This is an album more about performances and effect within songs.

The rearrangements have exposed vocalist George vd Spuy to be a singer very aware of and in control of his intentions; his delivery and especially harmony constructions are a superb example for young vocalists to follow.

Rearranging the songs so strongly has also had the knock-on effect of separating them from their observable influences, most obviously for me the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, Zeppelin and so forth.

If rock n' roll's associations with whiskey are really that ingrained, perhaps it's time a band tapped Southern Comfort as its calling card. It's sweeter, smoother, and has its own sense of history. A lot like Long Way From Home, which offers hope for all SA bands attempting a third album, even if mostly as a set rearrangements.

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