Review: AM Taxi – Bastards of the Deep Blue Sea

am-taxiFollowing their departure from Virgin Records, Chicago’s AM Taxi was relatively quiet for a couple of years. Bastards of the Deep Blue Sea is their second EP of 2014. At only four songs, the release is short, sweet and succinct where the earlier King of the Pond EP felt a bit uneven. AM Taxi don’t quite expand their sound as much as they play to their strengths to dominate the release.

Bastards of the Deep Blue Sea shows AM Taxi at their best with loud guitars, stadium style choruses and professional hooks. “Frostbit” is a fast song that fits in amongst the band’s most energetic works, while the more somber “Reckless In the Moonlight” sounds like a low-fi dance song ala’ Bloc Party.

One of Adam Krier’s (Lucky Boys Confusion) main strengths as a songwriter is crafting colossal hooks and chord progressions leading up to an incredibly powerful chorus (“I Don’t Like Your Neighborhood”). This time around is no different as he and Jay Marino’s guitars wield a healthy mix of punk and alternative sounds that take the current scene bands to task even though they would’ve fit in perfectly anywhere in the last two decades. Krier is also behind the newly implemented keyboards that feature prominently throughout the first couple of songs.

Jason Schultejann’s (LBC) bass is slightly hidden under the production but isn’t held back from waging incredible melodies to bounce the song along. Although he doesn’t venture too far out to steal the show, Chris Smith’s drumming and percussion is thunderously hypnotic as I often found myself drawn into just the beat alone.

Krier’s vocals are an addicting mix of Brian Fallon’s (The Gaslight Anthem) scratchy vocals and fellow Lucky Boys Confusion member Stubhy Pandav’s timing and emotional outpour. It does sound like he has two volumes that he likes to fall back to (quiet almost spoken-word and loud shouts) but they’re put to effective and rigorous use. Krier’s voice was made for rock music, and his shouts are highlighted with swarming gang vocals.

Lyrically, Krier leans on the anthems of rebellion and inner strength. On “Reckless in the Moonlight” he sings, “The kids on Center Street are reckless in the moonlight/ We stay together, we’re drinking through the night we are nothing if not brave, we’re stronger than before/ But hey, We’re not afraid to be afraid of anything anymore”.

Bastards of the Deep Blue Sea is a nice taste of the band back in action. Although they’ve been actively touring the Chicagoland area, it took four years for a proper release of any kind from the band. The main downside to the EP is that it’s over before you’re able to really bite into it. If the writing is any indication though, their next LP is going to be phenomenal.

3.5/5

by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and has seen LBC almost a dozen times over the last five years. It’s not creepy obsessive, it’s love.

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