The title of Taboo Blue's fourth album conjures up visions of a band that play the blues in the sort of style favored by bands like The Gun Club. These first impressions are false, however. "The Wrath of God..." turns out to be much gentler on the ear, mostly alternating between rockier material and rootsier Americana.
The album opens with "Steel Rail" where all the impressions conjured up by the albums title and the sleeve get blown away. It chugs along nicely, and the nicely restrained guitar work shows off the rockier side of the band. Their other side is displayed on track two, "So Bad," which is much more laid back and slower. The tune has shades of earlier Bob Dylan to it, whilst the slightly smoky vocals hint at Steve Forbert.
The title track of the album (which is also reprised as a closer) initially reminded me a bit of the Stranglers, mainly due to the way that the keyboards provide the foundation and drive the tune along. Subsequent listenings, however, suggested that the Doors are probably a better comparison, particularly after listening to "Paint The Kettle Black" which also has some of the feel of early British blues boom about it.
The band seem equally at home whether they are playing more upbeat numbers, or going for a more laid back feel. The songs on the album are almost evenly split between the two basic styles, so with a bit of careful programming you could even listen to the different styles individually. Of the rockier tracks, the dark and broody "Feminine Side" with its tasty slide guitar is probably the best. From the more laid back songs, the Tom Waits-like "Boys Ain't Poison" is very good, but pipped by "No One Most Know" which has some particularly good keyboard and piano playing on one of the best Dylan tunes that he never wrote.
"The Wrath of God and A Plymouth Fury III" is a good album. Taboo Blue almost seem a bit Jekyll and Hyde-ish with the two fairly contrasting sides to their music. The album should hold some appeal for fans of either (or both) styles. It is testament to the skills of bandleader and songwriter Leon Laudenbach that the two styles work so well when placed side by side, to make the whole album so coherent.
Simply click on the CD cover at left to other CDs from this group!
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