CD Reviews

Taz Taylor - 'Big Dumb Rock' Hot

Added by James Gaden     August 20, 2010    
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Instrumental album from the guitarist.



Instrumental albums polarize rock lovers. On the one hand, people who live for hearing technical expertise, readily appreciate the latest Steve Vai offering; on the other hand, the majority go for vocal driven tunes. The latest album by The Taz Taylor Band, ‘Big Dumb Rock’, in a way covers both bases. OK, it is an instrumental album but all its tracks have much in the way of vocal inspired sing-able melody lines and lots of guitar wizardry to boot.

Following high profile albums with Graham Bonnet and Keith Slack (MSG) on vocal duties, Taz Taylor returns to his instrumental roots with a triumphal platter of rock goods. With powerhouse longstanding drummer Val Trainor setting the tone, ‘Big Dumb Rock’ starts, finishes and ends with energetic and eventful songs. ‘Viper’, the opening track, sounds like a Tequila-fuelled odyssey into ZZ Top meets MSG territory. This is followed by stand out tracks ‘Reprised’ and ‘Chillin’ which are more upbeat racing rock songs with quick licks but no unnecessary tricks. Moving on, the title track is a very honest homage to the glory days of 80’s music. This is probably the only track where you wonder what it would sound like with vocals - maybe Spinal Tap will take on the challenge. Tracks pass by without losing the listeners’ interest and the album ends with the colossal ‘Hornitos Concerto’; imagine the rock soundtrack to the best Spaghetti Western never made and you would be close.

The only slight criticism is that there is not a lot of diversity on the album. If you like medium to fast rock, great, but don’t expect maudlin introspective pieces as well. Having said that, the tracks all have a different feel and are individually memorable - a good example is the Mott The Hoople sounding tail end of ‘11 Years’.

While Taz Taylor takes the leading part throughout on guitars and bass, new keyboard player, Bruce Conners, adds the colour that Paul Raymond does so well with UFO. This additional touch and plenty of rhythm guitar overdubs ensure there is no sparseness in any tracks and there is always something going on.

So, if you’re not put off by a lack of vocals and you enjoy ventures into metallic but melodic mayhem, this is the album for you. Otherwise, give it a try anyway – you’ll probably like it. ‘Big Dumb Rock’ is available to buy at their website,

Rob McKenzie


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