I almost feel bad for the rest of the artists releasing new music in 2012 because BLACK TAXI’s sophomore record, We Don’t Know Any Better, is gonna be hard to top. I’ve had this thing for over a month now and I still can’t stop listening to it (Hence all the write-ups here). We Don’t Know Any Better is addictive, it’s fun, it’s elegant, it’s dirty, it’s… seriously, if this album doesn’t make it onto most top 10 of 2012 lists, then my faith in the modern music industry is shot.
The thing about WDKAB that works so well is that it is such a diverse album, yet it doesn’t stray from the path of being wholly enjoyable throughout. It has something for everyone without sounding as if a million different ideas have been thrown together. If you like the party vibe that !!! promotes but don’t like all the mind-altering jams that tend to happen, then BLACK TAXI’s WDKAB is for you. If you love the dance-rock anthems of Franz Ferdinand but hate the pretentiousness that’s associated, BLACK TAXI’s WDKAB is for you. If you loved The Strokes Is This It and wished they never made another album after, then BLACK TAXI’s WDKAB is definitely for you.
Now onto 2012’s album of the year:
You may have seen our write-up on opener and lead single “Tightrope” back in November. The confines of WDKAB just make it shine even more. Next up is the title track which is a down and dirty romp to begin with and then segues into a solid dance groove that never lets up. That’s another thing about this band: they are tight as musicians and songwriters. Every song on We Don’t Know Any Better is expertly crafted with layers of goodness so that it’ll take you multiple listens just to soak it all in.
Vocalist, keyboardist, and trumpeter (yes, I said trumpeter) Ezra Huleatt is definitely THE frontman to watch in 2012. A wordsmith and multi-instrumentalist like no other, he easily switches from crooner one moment to brass playin’ guru the next (“Hand”). Guitarist Bill Mayo has a unique sound that changes from noodly jazz riffs to solid foundations in an instant (“Friend”). Oh, and he splits vocal duties with Ezra. Then there’s “Balloons On Barbed Wire” which is the perfect display of bassist Krisana Sopnpong’s and drummer Jason Holmes’ monster rhythm section.
Every time you think WDKAB has peaked, a song like the piano/synth driven “We’ll Take Another” happens or the fuzzed out “Politics” comes on, floors you, and before you know it you’re at the end of the album not quite comprehending what just happened to your aural senses. Musical rollercoaster? Oh yes! But it is definitely the greatest one you will be on this year.