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Taproot - "Our Long Road Home" (CD)

Taproot - "Our Long Road Home" CD cover image

"Our Long Road Home" track listing:

1. Path Less Taken
2. Wherever I Stand
3. Be The 1
4. Hand That Holds True
5. Take It
6. It's Natural
7. As One
8. You're Not Home Tonight
9. Stethoscope
10. Run To
11. Karmaway
12. Footprints

Reviewed by on February 24, 2009

"Unless you're craving turn-of-the-century radio rock, you'd do well to give this one a pass. "

In the early part of this decade, rock radio was ruled by guys like Staind and Taproot, with their "Alice-in-less-Chains" sound. That sound is on display again, to varying effect, on Taproot's latest album, "Our Long Road Home."

The album gets off to a good start, with the aggressive "Path Less Taken," which features great guitar work from Stephen Richards and Mike DeWolf. Richards' double-tracked vocals are quite reminiscent of what Alice in Chains' Jerry Cantrell and Layne Staley managed back in the day. Some great screamy stuff makes this one especially enjoyable.

Unfortunately, the album heads downhill pretty quickly from there. "Wherever I Stand" evokes the Foo Fighters instrumentally, and Paul McCartney and Wings circa "Silly Love Songs" lyrically. "If only I could show you just how much I really care," Richards sings ever so earnestly in the beginning; love's a wonderful thing, and it deserves better than these cloying lyrics.

Things seem to improve with "Be The 1," which opens like something off Jerry Cantrell's superb "Degradation Trip," and gives way to a Korn chorus. Then, it's back to pop-rock on "Hand That Holds True," which features lyrical cliches about "crazy days" and "reaching out again." "Take It" brings an interesting Rage Against the Machine approach to the intro, with shouted lyrics over aggressive guitars, but then goes back to the radio-rock route.

"Our Long Road Home" hits its nadir with the atrocious "It's Natural." It's fascinating to hear Richards interact with a female guest vocalist, but the chorus line claiming "It's natural, the fear of growing older," will elicit giggles rather than a feeling of pathos.

Overall, the album is OK instrumentally. It's not exactly bone crushing stuff for the most part, but the bouncy "You're Not Home Tonight" is fun to listen to — until you get to silly cliched lyrics like "I didn't mean the things I said, if I could take them back again, I would."

Unless you're craving turn-of-the-century radio rock, you'd do well to give this one a pass.

Highs: The opening track, "Path Less Taken," and "Be The 1"

Lows: The bad, cliched lyrics on "It's Natural" and "You're Not Home Tonight"

Bottom line: Bad lyrics overcome competent playing and make this one to pass up.

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)