Here And Now

Taxi Doll

Antidote Media, 2009

REVIEW BY: Julia Skochko


Hey, kids…we have a new CD!  Taxi Doll is band from Los Angeles -- a rock ‘n’ roll band?  Well, sort of.  They're a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, a little bit dance, a little bit pop…hmm. If their press notes are to be believed, they're the frickin' Lucky Charms of the musical world.  So, here's the CD cover.  What do you think this music is going to sound like?

Sarah (Age 6):  “I see one psycho and a Mexican.”
Jake (Age 3):  “HOLY BIT music!” (Ed. note:  I have no idea what that means, either.)
Sarah:  “Shka-shka-SHOO music!  Um, how about awesome rock?”

Ask, my children, and ye shall receive: the first track, “Come to Me,” is indeed awesome rock.  It features an electrified wah-wah pedal backed by vocals which are pure cotton candy -- fluffy, sugary and ethereal.  Think ”Kylie invites The Cardigans over for a potluck dinner.”  So, what do YOU think?

Sarah:  “This song makes me feel like Yoda!”
Grown-ups:  “...”
Me:  “Jake...does it make YOU feel like anything?”
Jake:  “Dancing!  And…and...vrancing!”

It's a small step from vrancing to boot-scooting, apparently.  The next track, “Follow Lead,” is a curious but effective mish-mosh of Top 40 and twang.  While unlikely, it makes total sense... what other genres are as devoted to pleasing their fans?  How do you feel about this song?

Sarah:  “We already heard this one!  We did!  Oh, wait…no, we didn't.”  [scrunches up face inquisitively]
Me:  “What's this song making you feel?”
Sarah:  “...I just farted.”

The next cut, “A Little More Love,” could be described as Lesser Britney.  It's not irresistibly catchy, but the dirty guitars and insistent techno beat make it a damned sight more interesting than the singles.  What do you think this song sounds like?

Sarah:  “Beep beep music!”
Jake:  “Holy bit music, again!” [at this point, Jake rips the CD case in two]
Boyfriend:  “I...I think it's making Jake feel destructive?”  [Tim calls the contact number listed in the liner notes.  Jake leaves a message:  “Ummmmm...sorry I broke your CD.  There, I said it!”]

Moving right along.  “Give You More” truly lives up to its name.  If there's one thing Here and Now could use, it's edginess.  It's polished and proficient, but until the orgasmic moans of “Give You More,” it's also entirely too tame.  Laid over gawky, Bjork-esque funk, they make “Give You More” one of the album's best tracks.  Kids?

Jake:  [shrieks for two minutes straight]
Sarah:  “It's kind of weird, but it makes me want to stand up for myself.”
Me:  “Jake, does this song make you feel like anything but screaming?”
Jake:  “It feels like...BURNING!  ICE CREAM!  BULLY!”
Sarah:  “Can I say any words I want in a record review?”
Grown-ups:  “Yes.  Yes, you can.”my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250
Sarah:  “Shit shit shit!” trenchant.  Let's take a look at “Look What You Get.”  It's an exotic little confection, a sinuous beat laced with choppy, fragmented vocals.  Listening to it, you can almost feel beads of dance-floor sweat washing away your body glitter.

Sarah:  [makes jazz hands]:  “Experience the world!”
Jake:   “I'm feeling...nuffing.”
Sarah:  “I'm feeling like I want to wrestle with Jacob.”
Jake:  “I feel like putting my private on somebody's head!”

On the other hand, “Winter” -- the disc's sole ballad -- puts its leisurely, echoic melancholy on EVERYONE's head.  Quoth Sarah:  “It's slow music...sloooooowish?”  [twists arms rapidly in circle, makes face like stroke victim]  “Zebra stripe music!”

“Winter” is followed by its delicious diametric opposite.  “Here and Now”’s noir-reggae is what might happen if Madness exchanged their suits for pleather minidresses.

Sarah:  [does John Travolta move from “Pulp Fiction”]
Jake:  [hits me in the face with a pillow]:  “I'm gonna smash everything in the house!”
Sarah:  “Everything I see, I'll smash!”
Sarah:  “Dance!  I really wanna dance!”  [plays air guitar, then rides an air surfboard, then proceeds to grab cat]  “C'mon, let's dance, you hippie!  Let's burn the house down!”

“Notice Me” doesn't inspire pyromania, but it still hits home.  It's an electrified “True Blue” B-side -- coquettish but still heartfelt (“Notice me, I'm the one with the broken heart”).

Sarah:  “...I have to think about it.  I know...gymnastic!” [flails around floor like cast of “Flashdance” having grand mal seizures]
Jake:  [walks into room]: “Let's DANCE!”  [runs around mincing and shrieking like a kabuki actress]

While not an instant dance sensation, “Strange Rush” is a marvelous, fine-boned little bird.  Even its atonal drum crashes feel delicate on top of the whispery, seductive vocals.

Sarah:  [sticks out tongue] “It's Chinese music.” [impromptu breakdance session]

“Be With You” brings things back to the ‘80s…specifically, the Pat Benataraceaous Era (“Such a sin to be blue without you, you make me feel alright).  If anything were to make you bust out your old junior varsity cheerleading uniform, its disco-diva “ooohs” and pop-tango backbeat would do the trick.

Sarah:  “This song makes me want to turn into a dog and lick another dog's butt.”

The final track, “Soft Kill,” was both the kids’ favorite and my own.  It's a sneak peek of what Taxi Doll could be: hard-hitting, intense and dirty-licious. Beats this solid are capable of shaking any rump, no matter how teeny-tiny.

Sarah:  [squints] “Like rocks falling down a cliff!  This song is fantastic!  I love it!”
Me:  [puts Jake on lap]:  “How does this song make you feel?”
Jake:  [wriggles loose]:  “Let's ROCK AND ROLL!”
Sarah:  “It makes me want to noogie Jake's head!”
Me:  “What does it make you feel?”
Jake:  “Um...nuffing.”
Sarah:  “It makes me excited and proud and awesome and crazy!”
Jake:  “That's what it makes me feel, too.”

At their best, Taxi Doll is indeed “excited and proud and awesome and crazy.”  They've got the potential to be the crème de la fluff.  Not every era produces a Mozart, but every era can (and should) have its own “Barbie Girl.” There are better albums than Here and Now, but there are far worse things than being the Aughts’ version of Aqua.  Sarah put it best:

Sarah:  “It's pink-a-licious!”
Boyfriend:  “So if someone had the choice between buying this record and getting a Nintendo DS game, what would you tell them to do?”
Sarah:  “Buy this album!”
Tim:  “Really?  Why?”
Sarah:  “...but I want a DS game.”
Grown-ups:  [die laughing]

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2009 Julia Skochko and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Antidote Media, and is used for informational purposes only.