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Tuesday, January 10 2012 00:00

BLACK TAXI - WE DON'T KNOW ANY BETTER (Album Review)

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blacktaxiBursting with both familiarity and freshness, WE DON'T KNOW ANY BETTER (out Jan. 14) marks the second full-length offering from Brooklyn quartet BLACK TAXI. There's a solid rock band at the core, but the multi-faceted instrumentation - executed with perfection - is where the band excels, pushing well beyond the stage and out onto the dancefloor.

Synth permeates the mix, bringing with it bells, xylophone, electronic elements, and if I'm not mistaken - harpsichord (on the excellent Holding Onto Nothing). At times I'm reminded of THE KILLERS' first record, but with a lot of nostalgia thrown in. I hear THE VAPORS in Do What You Gotta Do, CAKE in the vocals on the title track, and elements of 90's staples THE WALLFLOWERS and FASTBALL on Tell Me What You Need. Then there's Politics, which carries a very David Holmes-esque bass groove on the intro, but shifts into a mid-tempo number with catchy chorus.

While the potential influences emerge throughout, there's nothing here that feels lifted or insincere. Instead, BLACK TAXI exudes energy throughout the 13-track, nearly 45-minute set, while failing to deliver even one track that could be considered "filler."

There's a strong possibility that one of 2012's best albums has arrived quietly - just two weeks into the New Year. While the test of the next twelve months will be the ultimate decider as to whether it maintains it's prominence in rotation here, ultimately securing a spot somewhere on the coveted ''year-end lists,'' WE DON'T KNOW ANY BETTER is an exceptional release to start a new calendar's worth of music.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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