Drought - 'Tapped' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 13, 2014    
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'Tapped' goes straight into my albums of the year.

"Great" is a much over used word when it comes to music. It's probably misused just as often as music is so subjective. Every so often though you find an album where everything just seems to fit into place, exudes quality on so many levels that you just can't get away from that word. 'Tapped' is a great album.

Hailing from Austin, Texas, with brothers Mike and Shannon Mikulas at their core Drought have been around in some form since 2001. First album 'Untapped' was released in 2011 as a collection of songs written and developed over that ten year period. 'Tapped' is a more contemporary collection of songs written with a now stable line up, with Taz Osterhouse on guitar and Bobby Sheehan on drums. Probably best categorised as alternative/indie rock they are firmly in the Foo Fighters, Nickelback, Shinedown camp, with a touch of Alter Bridge and even Nirvana thrown in for good measure. 'Stand' opens the album with an acoustic guitar picking out a few notes before the huge riff kicks in. Mike's vocals are understated as the guitars echo and swirl round each other and drums pound out a slightly off balance rhythm before launching into the driving beat of an instantly memorable chorus. Right from the start Drought are not afraid to use a bit of studio trickery, with distorted vocals, echoed, phased guitar sounds but always enhancing the sound, never taking it over or becoming intrusive. 'Monster' follows with again a powerful riff pushing the song forward. 'Coming Home' is a change of pace with a slow, acoustic opening, Mike's vocals have a slightly raw, gritty feel, whilst the guitars build up to the chorus and an evocative solo before dropping back to the acoustic, laid back feel to finish. 'Who I Am' is a real highlight, a more up tempo rocker that just bounds along, even bringing to mind the enthusiasm of early Def Leppard at one point.

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But what really raises the standard above the norm is a superb production and recording job from Todd Anthony and Anthony Foex who between them have worked with the likes of Bango Tango, Aerosmith and Buck Cherry. This is certainly not an album based around studio effects but the subtle use of multi-tracking, and other effects give a dynamic and clarity of sound rarely heard on an independently produced album such as this.

'The Distance In Between' is that rarity of an instrumental track that has both enough repetition to make it memorable and enough variety to avoid tedium. 'Gasoline' is probably the pick of the bunch again with a huge riff and chorus that instantly burns its way into your brain.

In all, eleven tracks of sheer quality. From the songwriting and the arrangements, the mix of subtle acoustics and powerhouse riffing, and the rich and clear tone of the whole album this just cries out class. 'Tapped' goes straight into my albums of the year. Yes, it's subjective, but 'Tapped' is a great album.

Ian Parry

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