Artist: Taz Taylor Band 
   Title: Straight Up
   Label: Escape Music

The long awaited follow-up to 'Welcome To America' is 'Straight Up', the band is the Taz Taylor Band.  Following on from the success of his debut release Taz Taylor rapidly became a household name as the boy from Birmingham UK made good.  All those years locked away in his San Diego rehearsal rooms honing his craft finally bearing fruit.

With 'Welcome To America' Taz enlisted the vocal talent that is Graham Bonnet, but on this new album we find Keith Slack of Steelhouse Lane and MSG taking up the mantle of frontman for ‘Straight Up’.

Again the album is pure classic hard rock with Taz’s guitar work once again a highlight, only this time we have Slack's vocals taking the TTB to another level, as the opener ‘Lock And Load’ shows.  It's those classic rock vocals of Slack that sometimes edge towards Robert Plant in places and Taz’s easy riff splendour that make you sit up and take notice instantly, and that's just what a great opening track should do.

That same high quality sound is carried on throughout the album as ‘Razor Tongue’ thumps out of the speakers, with Val Trainor simply thrashing the hell out of the skins against Slack’s power driven vocals, all encased around the superb fret work of Taylor.

There are times on the album that Taz simply mesmerizes and if you have ever seen him live, this is also very true in the live arena.  He simply shines out as one of those guitar players that is so quietly confident with the six string razor that he takes a little step back and just lets his playing do the talking.

One track where the guitar totally rules is ‘One More Night’.  This song could very easily have featured on one of MSG’s albums as Slack’s raspy vocals remind me very much of Gary Barden.

Another great guitar ridden track is ‘The Fugitive’, where again Taz takes a Schenker feel guitar riff and makes it his own.  Once again this pairing seems to really hit the mark on this song as Slack simply powers on through.

There's  no doubting Taylor’s love of the classic rock sound as the album continues with ‘What You Need’ and the superb ‘In Harms Way’, with Slack’s formidable vocals leading the way on this one and sounding a little Bonnet and Coverdale in parts, all making this one of his finest vocal performances on the entire album.

Taz really shows his versatility as a guitar player on the track ‘Information Overload’ as he switches from humble bridges to a massive solo with such ease it really makes his mark.

‘Never Let Go’ carries on that classic sound before ‘Bring It’, a real up-tempo rocker that takes it's pure great riffs and powerhouse rhythm section, with some fabulous vocals which are just the icing on the top of this musical cake.

There’s a touch of UFO with ‘Wait No More’ before the only instrumental featured on the album, ‘Straight Up’, and for this one Taz enlisted one of his all time musical heroes Don Airey to do the keyboards on this song.  It's a real gem that simply cements Taylor’s guitar skills in a way that makes you wish for more of the same.  He could have easily taken over the album but that isn’t his style.  This is a band and with a huge vocal like Slack’s, the pairing seem so well suited and this album carries on where 'Welcome To America' left off.


Tracklisting:

1. Lock And Load
2. Razor Tongue
3. One More Night
4. The Fugitive
5. What You Need
6. In Harms Way
7. Information Overload
8. Never Letting Go
9. Bring It
10.Wait No More
11. Straight Up

                   

 

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