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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

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