The Takers - Taker Easy (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Takers

Taker Easy (2009)

Suburban Home

Though some have lamented the sudden outpouring of country music in the punk rock scene these past few years, I have welcomed this trend with open arms. The genres complement each other surprisingly well, and this craze has produced some great albums that have illustrated that there is still plenty of musical space for punk bands to explore. Though some might try to lump the Takers in with these other bands, particularly because Taker Easy is put out on Suburban Home Records, to do so is hardly sufficient, as the Takers are decidedly different than other punk/country hybrids. Bands like Drag the River or Yesterday's Ring are great, but they do sound like a bunch of punks playing country music. The Takers, however, sound like an honest-to-goodness country band that just plays a little heavier than most in their genre.

A great example of this is the track "St. John's Son." It doesn't sound like most of the country-punk you hear, but the influence of both genres is undeniable. It's as catchy and fast as good punk rock, but as western as can be. Of course, not all songs are fast-paced; the album has a great diversity of tempos, with slower tracks like "Friends in Bottles" packing just as much punch as the fast ones. As that song's title suggests, there's a good amount of booze-soaked cynicism to be found on the disc. Despite the sometimes depressing nature of the lyrics on the disc, they fit the music and singer Devon Vlasin's excellent vocals carry them well.

Although the album's strength is in its consistency, its biggest weakness stems from that consistency: There is only one true standout track, "Curse of a Drunk," and it was released on a 7" last year, so fans of the band have already heard it. Again, that's not to say that the album is weak -- far from it -- it's just lacking those unforgettable tracks or hooks that truly great albums have.

The Takers are not like the plethora of country-punk bands rearing their heads right now, and should not be lumped in with those other artists. This is a country band, through and through, and readers who are looking for some whiskey-soaked good times should be interested in giving this record a spin.