The Taxpayers - To Risk So Much for One Damn Meal (Cover Artwork)

The Taxpayers

To Risk So Much for One Damn Meal (2011)

Quote Unquote

The Taxpayers sound a lot like Bomb the Music Industry! if BtMI! were to sacrifice some of Jeff Rosenstock's energy for tighter musicianship and better production. The similarity is uncanny, though. Like how Vampire Weekend sound a lot like Paul Simon. So it's not a surprise to find this release on Rosenstock's label, Quote Unquote Records.

Did I mention this sounds a lot like Bomb the Music Industry!? Seriously–between the instruments used and their singer's vocal tones and lyrical themes, it's extremely similar. I think this album should have been advertised as a concept album based on BtMI!. Once you get over all that, though, you'll find a release which I think is actually more reliable than BtMI!. I find myself skipping a lot of tracks in BtMI!'s more recent output, but there's no need to skip anything here. That being said, there aren't any songs that really jump out and grab you. Like I said, for all its attempts, this album seems to lack that raw edge that makes it really jump out and grab you by the ears. It seems to straddle the line between downbeat and high energy extremely well. In fact, it's smack-bang in the middle.

I find each track starts with potential, and I'm just willing it to work itself up into a melodic frenzy, but it never really happens. The tracks seem to end prematurely sometimes, and you're left feeling like the band are happy to make music with eclectic instrumentation rather than actually working real melody and catchiness into their songs.

The thing that impresses me most about this album is the prominence of the horns. It's been getting harder and harder to find decent music with horns ever since the third wave died a horrible death, but again, I'm enjoying this from an instrumentation perspective–not because the horns really bring the songs to life.

Ultimately, you can't get away from how much this sounds like Bomb the Music Industry!. BtMI! have such a specific sound that it's impressive how accurately the Taxpayers have managed to replicate it. But To Risk So Much for One Damn Meal lacks that feeling of spontaneity and urgency that might have made it a must-own. Granted, it won't be all that often, but I imagine I'll listen to this when I'm wanting something in between chilled-out and bursting with raw energy.

You can't really complain when this is a donation-based download from Quote Unquote–I think its status as a potentially free download is appropriate for its quality. There's also a CD version available. I might have bought an LP if only for the funny album art. Bottom line: Download this if you're a BtMI! fan.