BY DREW LACOUTURE
On Moon Taxi’s fourth album, the Nashville quintet continues to deliver their brand of Indie rock.
While nothing is really new, the group has nearly perfected their sound with eleven songs that sound like the group just came back from an awesome road trip with just a couple of wrong turns here and there.
Moon Taxi has always been an interesting group whose biggest strength has been their borrowed elements of southern, progressive and jam rock. On their latest, they truly have found a great middle ground of the rhythm driven jams of “Cabaret” and the more subtle, spacious tracks of “Mountains Beaches Cities.” Fans of either two albums will find enjoyment in this.
This album opens with the lead single ‘Year Zero’ and while a decent opener, the choir that chimes in before each verse is a little out of place for the group, and the rest of the album for that matter.
As stated earlier, Moon Taxi’s greatest strength lies in their instrumentation and their blending of styles.
Trevor Trendrup’s distinguished vocals help give the group a southern feel behind the big production and while still pretty one sided, his delivery is more convincing than ever before. This is especially true on the track ‘Who’s To Say’ with Trendrup singing about a girl who thinks he is crazy.
Another thing that shines through on the album are the synchronizing grooves between Tyler Ritter on drums and Tommy Putnam on bass. The two work incredibly well together on the laid back track ‘Always’ with Putman offering a killer bass line.
While the band’s chemistry is tighter than ever, Ritter can still be a bore behind the kit. The track ‘Year Zero’ and ‘Domino’ can easily be mistaken for each other because of the similar drum pattern. Though Spencer Thomson, the guitarist, and Putman are always doing something interesting.
However, it would have also been nice to hear Wes Baily on keyboard take center stage more like he has in the past.
After multiple listens, it is clear the first half of the album is better than the second half. Unfortunately the last three tracks ‘Domino,’ ‘Red Hot Lights’ and ‘Rooftops’ all have weak lyrics and it seemed like the group had stopped trying. This is especially true for ‘Rooftops’ and while it is soothing, it just was not the strongest track to close the album with.
The first half of the album though, is much more enjoyable with some catchy hooks and great musical decisions. ‘Run Right Back,’ ‘Savanah’ and ‘Ready To Go’ all belong on a traveling playlist. ‘Ready To Go’ also features a short, but satisfying rare guitar solo.
‘Make Your Mind Up’ is also a great track that has a clear “Fitz and the Tantrums” influence and features a surprise saxophone solo that makes it the best on the album.
While the album doesn’t fall apart at any point, the first half completely out does the second.
“Daybreaker” is sure to please returning fans of their past work and is a great album to introduce the group to anyone that is intrigued to southern rock because of its accessibility and Moon Taxi’s tighter sound. While some tracks are not as interesting or well thought out as others, the album as a whole is solid and makes for the some decent laid back study music.
The Flyer gives “Daybreaker” by Moon Taxi a 7/10.