THE BAND: Stephen Richards (voice/guitar), Mike Dewolf (guitar), Jarrod Montague (drums & percussion), Phil Lipscomb (bass). The majority of the songs are written by Richards and Dewolf. Taproot is based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan.
THE DISC: 13 songs, approx 51 minutes long. Liner notes feature band pictures and song lyrics within. This is the band’s 3rd album – previous releases are “Gift” (2000) and “Welcome” (2002).
COMMENTS: This album took me by surprise. After their “Gift” release sounded like any of the other Nu-Metal bands coming out at the time, and their 2nd album “Welcome” was just kind of ho-hum… this “Blue-Sky Research” floored me with catchy hooks, great singing (with an occasional well placed and never over done yell), and no filler. Every song is excellent… some of the tunes are downright finger snapping jazzy smart rock and roll. Typically, when I first buy an album, I like to give each song about 30-60 seconds just to get a flavor of it… first time I played this disc, I listened to the whole thing without hitting the fast forward button. It was that good. This is easily their best, most polished, complete work to date. Still is the influence of Alice In Chains (and solo Jerry Cantrell efforts), and even a touch of Tool, but they’re still a unique sounding band. Billy Corgan helped on 3 songs – and you can hear his Smashing Pumpkins influence on these songs. “Blue-Sky” is much more radio friendly and I predict big things for this band in the near future. The first hit is “Calling” and it’s an incredible song. Great guitar work with inspiring lyrics. I think many of their songs here are lyrically uplifting. My favorites being the opener “I Will Not Follow” with it’s hypnotic guitar, “Birthday” with it’s great melody and message, and “Calling” – simply the best. If you like this album from Taproot, check out other (fairly) new releases from Seether, Atomship, Staind, Breaking Benjamin, Alterbridge, Edgewater, 30 Seconds to Mars, Cold, Ra and Porcupine Tree. This is easily one of my favorite rock albums from 2005.