God, Forgive These Bastards Songs From The Forgotten Life Of Henry Turner
Through a broad range of instrumental exploration and influences, Portland's Taxpayers' latest release takes us on a fucked up journey to the centre of a tortured mind. Possibly the band's most intriguing record to date, it portrays the ups and many downs of late pitcher Henry Turner's existence in fourteen tales of alcohol-fuelled relations, pub antics, self-hatred, anger and climaxing arguments.
The versatility they developed over the years has found its raison d'etre in the form of this anti-aesthetic, powerfully expressive record: the many musical genres exploited in the project (jazz, free-jazz, acoustic folk, punk and hardcore) create a succession of dark atmospheres following no apparent structure but the randomness of the human mind. Jumping from soft, somewhat hopefully light-hearted ballads to brass-led frantic dances and rapid bursts of rage, each of the songs sets its own stage to depict the confusion of a life spiralling downwards.
Chaotic, beautifully discordant, punk at heart, “God, Forgive These Bastards” digs right into your soul with an unsharpened knife. It may hurt, may upset, but can't leave many indifferent. You might even like I did find an uneasy pleasure in being so bluntly exposed to another's turmoil. That's not worrying, is it? Oh, God...- Tracy Mamoun
Ok, it's punk, BUT... combining the hostile aesthetics of the genre and the erratic vibes of free-jazz instrumentals with a thoroughly thought through production, Portland's DIY specialists The Taxpayers truly are a tight act in disguise. Beginning as your standard “guitar, bass and drums” trio back in 2007, they would sporadically superpose onto their riffs some finger picking blues lines which were, looking back, the early stages of versatile sonic ventures to come.
Today, as the band has grown a few heads larger, recording with a banjo, sax, piano, horn, trumpet and accordion, The Taxpayers' sound has further developed its skilfully confused signature, most present on the last full-length album “To Risk So Much For One Damn Meal”; yet as much as that record light-heartedly talked us through tales of a contemporary struggle, the teaser track and cover art of forthcoming “God, Forgive These Bastards” (dedicated to the memory of baseball pitcher Henry Turner) announce much darker and more deranged a colour.
Judging by the opening brass spits, those few already drawn away by the apparent lack of structure of earlier releases might as well stand back, while we amateurs of distorted frenzies welcome with excitement the new album, out this Saturday, June 23rd. Oh, and there will be a book too! - Tracy Mamoun