Album Reviews
Band: Tax The Heat

Title: Change Your Position

Label: Nuclear Blast

Now there's a thing. Is there such a thing as 'Hipster Rock'? If not, I may have just come up with something that will p*ss off bands such as Tax The Heat for the way their band image is portrayed, but seriously lads, there's no insult intended, especially when you rock with a capital 'R' the way you do, and believe me folks, they do! 

 

This Bristol quartet first came to most people's attention with their great debut album 'Fed To The Lions', and with this newie for 2018, they've taken another step forward and come up with a blistering set of songs that slam like that sh*thouse door in the wind! Take the opener 'Money in The Bank' for starters. It's just one huge barrage of riffage that hammers at your head to be let in, sorta Royal Blood but with plenty more balls, and...is that a cowbell in the distance? Well, that's something that is used as often as Karen Carpenter's biscuit tin was when it comes to Rock music, so well done on that front, then this is eagerly followed by the feisty, hip-wiggling title track that finds vocalist Alex Veale singing his heart out, surrounded by layered harmonies that match up perfectly to give the song a full-blooded sound. 'Playing With Fire' ebbs and flows as the tempo rocks then slows as the track flows along, Antonio Angotti (b/v), JP Jacyshyn (g/v) and Jack Taylor (d/v) all showing the world what they're made of as well as Veale as his swaggering attitude shines through here.

Prepare to 'shake ya booty' next, as 'All That Medicine' begs you to hit the dance floor as it shimmers with a groove that is impossible to ignore as....well....dance floor heaven for those who don't mind their inner John Travolta guilty pleasure seeping out, and for all you closet Hippies out there, listen carefully to the intro to 'On The Run'. Yeah, me too, the more you hear it, the more it sounds very similar to Steppenwolf's 'Magic Carpet Ride', and by the looks/sounds of it. I ain't alone in noticing that, but this song isn't as laid back, no, no, this is more as if the 'Wolf had taken a boatload of speed and said 'f*ck it, let's go'! And that slide.....yeah dude!  

 

Taking things down a notch is 'The Last Time', not so much punch as Judy here, the band showing their heart and soul on the sleeve moment as this soaring ballad, for all it's jabbing guitars, checks out The Fab Four during the chorus, Veale's vocals as gentle as can be without being namby-pamby. Back to the dancefloor chaps, 'cos 'Taking The Hit' is a shoulder-shaker if ever there was one, the shot of Prince-esque solo majestic, and Veale hitting notes that only King Diamond could if he got his knackers caught in a mangle, yeah THAT high!! OOh, the thought!

What's all this commotion, then?? The band seem to slip off their smart attire and hoy on some bondage trousers and safety pins as 'My Headspace' teeters on the hockle-spattered edge of Punk/New Wave, the guitars spitting out their razor sharp riffs, the drumming as hectic but as tight as leggings on The Weather Girls, and as far as the vocals go, they're as angry as someone on Alexei Sayle pills!! Nuff said.  'We Are Consumers' harks back to 70's Rock with all the beefy guitar and drum combo being the main element to take the track along, aided by touches of harmonies that soften the edges a tad, then suddenly up pops 'Cut Your Claim', a smashing power-pop number which has a mix of The Stereophonics, Black Keys and those bad lads of Britpop, Noel and Liam washing all over the song to chirp up the mood for 3 minutes or so before the melodramatic 'Wearing A Disguise' barges in and really shows the previous track how to Rock, which it does, rather on the heavier, moody side than any of what has been on show up to now, yet it shows that this band can be flexible in their sound than many people may give them credit for if they only judge a book by it's cover. 

 

Now if you're going to go out with a bang instead of a whimper on your album, do what this lot have done and leave one of your best songs 'til last, as they have with 'The Symphony Has Begun', which in all honesty it has, as this is their mini 'Bo Rhap'., their 'Stairway To' ... their 'Taking Islands In Africa' if you get my drift, and it makes you wonder just where the band are going to go on their next album? 

April is going to be an interesting month for me as quite a few albums are due for release, which I'm REALLY looking forward to, tho the Mrs won't be too chuffed when she suddenly discovers an influx of discs/vinyl around the house, but one thing is for sure, Tax The Heat's 'Change Your Position' is going to be hard to beat when it comes to choosing my 'end of year' list', and hopefully I'll be at Jumping Jacks in Newcastle to catch them live this time! Get yourselves there, you'll be in for a treat. 

 

Review by: Robb Baldwin

 

Tracklisting:

1.  Money In The Bank
2.  Change Your Position
3.  Playing With Fire
4.  All That Medicine
5.  On The Run
6.  The Last Time
7.  Taking The Hit
8.  My Headspace
9.  We Are Consumers
10.  Cut Your Claim 
11. Wearing A Disguise 
12. The Symphony Has Begun 

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