|Taz Taylor Band Straight Up||Escape Music|
The debut Taz Taylor Band CD featured the always interesting vocals of Graham Bonnet. It was well received and featured a mix of classic blues hard rock in the vein of Rainbow, UFO and MSG. Same applies for album number two, expect this time around vocalist Keith Slack (Steelhouse Lane, MSG) is up front.|
The name Keith Slack immediately reminds me and I'm sure many others, of the iconic Steelhouse Lane records, but don't get his performance on those records confused with what else he can do. I kinda of did, so the first listen to this album was hard to get through. On Straight Up, Keith is in his fully fledged raspy, blues drenched, screaming, angst mode. It was hard on the ears to be honest. Translated – nothing here at all for Steelhouse Lane fans or smooth AOR lovers.
This is a hard driving blues inspired hard rock record with vocals to match. In fact, Slack's gruff and raspy vocal delivered here is almost impossible to recognize.
But in a way, it does suit the music on hand. Loose, raw rock n roll with plenty of solos, plenty of MSG inspired riffs and plenty of in your face moments. The opening couple of tunes don't do a lot for me at all I'm afraid.
But on One More Night things improve and Slack delivers a nice Coverdale style vocal with more melody in his voice and in the song itself.
What You Need features a similar vocal and a chorus that takes the song back a notch. I like this a lot.
And the blues groove of In Harms Way sees the band hit their stride. I just hope the opening couple of tracks don't scare folks off.
Never Letting Go is probably the album highlight for me, straight ahead riffing and a nice vocal lead chorus with the best hook of the record.
The album trails off a little in the closing stages, but ends with a fine instrumental called Straight Up.
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