Taproot are one of those types of bands that improve dramatically with each album. If you took a listen to their first album “Gift”, you’ll hear mostly standard nu-metal with very little originality or style. At the time of that release I almost wrote them off as just another band that were cashing in on the whole nu-metal craze going on back then. Sure they were a little better than most of the bands in the genre, but they still weren’t very unique.
Several years later their sophomore effort “Welcome” was released and it was a huge surprise. I found myself shocked that the same bunch of guys who had written “Gift” had come so far in such a short amount of time. The songs were so much more developed, the sound was fresh, the band found an identity of their own, and they thankfully ditched all the nu-metal references they started out with. I knew then that Taproot were a band to watch.
Fast forward a few years later and their long-awaited third studio album “Blue-Sky Research” (love the title) was released. The big question on my mind was whether or not they would be able to top “Welcome”. Well not only did they top it, but they went above and beyond. Once again they improved their sound dramatically from the last album, which to me is highly impressive because it’s just not seen very often in music these days. The songwriting on “Blue-Sky Research” is just so well-written and diverse than even the songs found on “Welcome” that it was a breath of fresh air.
This time around, the band somehow managed to write even catchier songs without sacrificing their heavier moments. Some songs are more radio-friendly like “Birthday”, “She”, and “Forever Endeavor”, while other songs are much more heavy like “I Will Not Fall For You”, “Facepeeler”, and “What’s Left”. You’ll also get songs that mix both styles like “Violent Seas” and “Nightmare”. Each song is unique and sounds nothing like any other song on the album, which is never an easy task to perform.
The bandmembers have also never sounded better. Stephen’s vocals are really quite phenomenal. His singing has become even stronger and more passionate but yet he can still scream his head off like the old days during the heavier moments. Mike’s guitar playing has become much more diverse and technical, while Philip’s bass playing is smooth and comes out really strong in the mix. Last but not least, Jarrod’s drumming is stylish and fits perfectly within the songs to give them the drive that they need.
There will always be those that fell in love with Taproot’s specific sound on either “Gift” or “Welcome”, in which case this album may not totally be to their liking as it does not sound like either one. But for the fans who are willing to grow with Taproot as I am, I foresee many great changes the band will go through to get to the next level, thus making them a better band in the process. I have no doubt that their next album will once again prove that Taproot will never release the same album twice. Well done, guys.