On the surface, The Taxpayers are derivative of folk punk which is synonymous with shrill, belting vocals, confessional lyrics, and open chords instead of those power ones, but they’re actually more akin to authentic folk: class discontent, lyrical, acerbic, humble musicianship, jaunty, and weary. Although the LP is a maelstrom of disappointment and deep contemplation—this isn’t the sound of apathy. Case in point: “Everybody Just Stood There” functions poignantly as a companion to Andrew Jackson Jihad’s “Guilt: The Song.” Both are tales of numb observers to public tragedies. Both narrators are remorseful. Yet, this isn’t the sound of complacency, either. If we lent a hand, if we didn’t just stand there and casually watch suffering, then we might be just an inch closer to feeling guilt free. This is the sound of direct action, direct human contact. Modern life has afforded us the opportunity to play music on a spinning petroleum-based plastic disc, but simultaneously left us floating listlessly, frothing for purpose. The Taxpayers provide a temporary remedy: distilled storytelling. Each song resonates like a chapter in a larger narrative. You can choose to follow the threads, or nod your head to the snappy folk orchestra (banjo, piano, accordion, saxophone). Regardless of your choice, there is no incorrect means of ingestion as all leave an indelible impression. Note: “Some Kind of Disaster Relief” is a dead ringer for the Big Time version of Tom Waits’ “Telephone Call from Istanbul.” That’s a damn good thing.
–Sean Arenas (Plan-it X, plan-it-x.com)