Can it really be called a “throwback” if the sound you’re tapping into is one that you originated??? Listening through Taproot’s newest record, their 7th overall and first in over 10 years, is like experiencing the Ann Arbor, Michigan’s first three albums collectively for the first time again. It’s gargantuan, it’s genuine, it’s everything that longtime fans could’ve hoped for and more. And for the nu-kids, SC\SSRS couldn’t have come at a more perfect time when a much shunned genre is coming back around again… and again.
This record is banaynay’s. Like, it shouldn’t exist. Last we heard Taproot was donezo. And then there was a box set of rarities coming and a reunion show or two and now this: a brand spankin’ new Taproot record that very well might be their best yet. No lie! SC\SSRS is vicious and vibrant from start to finish, combining the rawness of Gift, the wizened maturity of Welcome, and the experimental denseness of Blue-Sky Research. You couldn’t ask for a better starting point for the uninitiated.
“VIP (Victim I Play)” is like being transported to 2000 and the beginnings of Gift but in the now with the nostalgia not letting up as “Favourite Song” drives home another crushing anthem from the group as Nonpoint’s Elias Soriano brings the guestly gravitas. “We C_ntrol Our Destiny” is peak 21st Century Taproot: Pummeling, passionate, and profound. Vocalist Stephen Richards barks with the same, if not more, ferocity than ever before, Phil Lipscomb brings an earth-shattering rumble through the bass, Taylor Roberts’ guitar absolutely rips, and the drumming from Jarrod Montague is both metronome-like and maniacal.
“No One Else To Blame” is the epitome of what Taproot does right and that’s bring some heavy ass harmony to our collective earholes, “Scared Together” crushes, and “Imagining” is an entangled web of Montague and Roberts’ respective drumming and guitar playing going back and forth like a sort of call and response. “2nd Thought” is this Jekyll & Hyde kind of beastie with a pleasant start and Richards’ croon all over the chorus followed by some gnarly breakdowns in the middle before heading back to the main melody that also serves as a perfect segue to the Taproot goes Country tune, “Love Without You”. Yes, you read that right. But it works! Especially when adding actual Country star (And Michigan native) Audrey Ray to the mix as her saccharine-embedded voice meshes nicely with Richards’ clean delivery and Roberts drops some twang-ified fiery solos.
You didn’t think that was it for the Heavy now, did you? Well, “The Best Things In Life” has you covered with one last blast of barely contained heaviness that sees Richards adopting a Rap-Rock menacing flow during the verses with the rest of Taproot doubling down on the Hard Rawk! Then “Ma” winds it all down with a charming ditty that highlights not only Taproot’s masterful songwriting prowess but also the fact that they don’t need to slam you over the head for an hour straight to still leave a lasting impression.
SC\SSRS arrives on September 29th through THC: Music/Amplified Distribution. Pre-orders are up now in a variety of formats and can be found alongside a listing fo their upcoming Fall tour dates when you head here. For more on Taproot, follow them across the information superhighway by clicking here, here, or here.