Taproot - Blue Sky Research
Taproot exploded on to the rock scene about five years ago back in the days of the nu-metal explosion. It was their single 'Again and Again' that got the band noticed and delivered them a promising future. They have supported some of the biggest names including Linkin Park, Incubus, Deftones and Mudvayne and built up a loyal fan base in doing so. However since the release of their debut album in 2000, most nu metal bands have been and gone whatever happened to the likes of Korn and Limp Bizkit? (Thank the Lord Fred Durst has disappeared) Bearing this in mind, you have to ask yourself upon listening to this album; have the band succeeded in taking a new direction that is still relevant and popular today?
Blue Sky Research is the third album release from Taproot. The band have enlisted Smashing Pumpkins man Billy Corgan to produce three tracks, 'Lost in the Woods', 'Violent Seas' and 'Promise'. The formula for this new album appears to be a balance between melody and aggression. The result is a sound that falls somewhere between A Perfect Circle and the Deftones circa their 'White Pony' album.
There is no denying that vocalist Stephen Richards has a powerful and intriguing voice, it assists the band in creating an album that is melancholic and romantic but in a kick ass kind of way. Despite the band's obvious good intentions there appears to be lacking something though. I am not sure what it is, but they just can not seem to pull off this kind of album like A Perfect Circle can. Corgan's input goes fairly unnoticed too, many of the tracks sound a little too similar, making it hard to distinguish what is genuinely good and what is 'filler'.
Their first single 'Calling' sounds exactly like the rest of the album, using this juxtaposition of melodies and hard rock. I would avoid track three 'Birthday' it reminded me of that awful band Puddle of Mudd, unless of course you like them. I suppose the album is a little predictable, right down to the epic style finale 'Blue Sky Research/What's Left', one of those quiet/loud/quiet/loud tracks that seems to go on forever.
There are songs worth listening to; 'Face Peeler' and 'So Eager' are my favourites at the moment, and I have an inkling that is album is definitely a grower, the more you listen, the more you like. The band have undoubtedly progressed as artists in the past few years, and this album is thoughtful and mysterious if you give it a chance and are patient with it.
'Blue Sky Research' was released via Velvet Hammer Music/Atlantic Records on August 15.