Solar Taxi is a five-piece band from Waterford, Ireland. Beginning after a 2009 meeting between powerhouse vocalist Aisling Browne and bassist/producer Peter Vogelaar, Solar Taxi caught the eye of folk legend John Martyn, who mentored them. The band blossomed in 2010 when Browne and Vogelaar put aside their side projects to focus on gigging as Solar Taxi, and released two singles. That summer, guitarist James O’Halloran, drummer John Floey, and keyboardist Keith Adams joined the band to complete the lineup. Solar Taxi released their first EP She Dies With Beautiful Teeth in 2011, containing the acclaimed single “The Fool,” licensed to the United States-produced film Exit Strategy. Solar Taxi was named one of Hotpress’ “50 Act You Must Hear in 2012″.
On September 21, 2012, Solar Taxi released their debut LP Broken Brother’s Secret Bells after a year and a half of intensive songwriting and recording.
Let’s start with a breakdown of the songs.
- “Zodiac,” the first song on the LP is also the band’s first single off of it. A perfect starter, Zodiac is an incredibly fun and catchy dance track with powerful vocals. The first song on an album has to set the stage, and this does just that. A new listener is introduced to the unique sound of Solar Taxi and is hooked instantly, bobbing along to the beat.
- “The Fool,” previously released on Solar Taxi’s debut EP, makes a reappearance on Broken Brother’s Secret Bellsi, and rightfully so! Have a listen for yourself. This song carries on Solar Taxi’s dutiful mission of catchy beats and power vocals until…
- “Saturday’s Children.” My first thought was, “Holy different!” I love the change of pace with the incredibly tender introduction. The song picks up a slight bit more with the addition of a beat and bell chimes until it morphs back into what the listener now considers the familiar Solar Taxi style. The listener is taken on a beautiful musical adventure that ends up right back where it started, with the tender vocals of Aisling Browne. Check it out!
- The fourth track, “Within an Inch of My Life,” has an anthemic opening that just oozes epicness. On first listen of Broken Brother’s, I instantaneously claimed this song to be one of my favorites. Solar Taxi combines a somewhat retro rock feeling with a vocal from somewhere more current, more R&B, more bluesy. Which leads me to my first universal thought on Solar Taxi: This band embodies a perfect mix of styles from all different realms and it works so, so, well.
- Another standout song: “Gung Ho” has funky guitar, bluesy vocals, and sweet bass. Think the Scissor Sisters with a twist. This is the second single off of Broken Brother’s. Watch the video here!
- “Spaces” brings us another great power vocal with matching power lyrics. Give this one a few listens to let it really sink in.
- “Chasing the Day” starts off with a sound and feeling very similar to the theme song from the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It’s one of my favorites, so I was therefore instantly taken by this song. I love it. Solar Taxi once again revisits retro feelings, but this time with a retro vocal and chord progression.
- “Sadness in the Water,” the shortest song on the LP, gives off a trip-hoppy, loopy vibe. It shows the darker, perhaps more introspective side of Solar Taxi, which is a nice contrast to their poppy dance tracks.
- “Browbeat” is the heaviest song on Broken Brother’s, and reminds me of a somewhat revamped New Order.
- “Parcels” is hands down the best song on this LP. As I was writing notes while listening, I took up a whole page because I got so excited about the amazingness of this song. I was really swept up into it. Listen to the piano, listen to the vocals and lyrics: “Watch me breathe me in…/It’s time to wise up…/Watch me fall like them all.”
This song is so hauntingly beautiful and vulnerable at the same time. The guitar effects halfway through are a perfect addition, and so is the violin towards the end. Superb.
- The final track, “1995 Sonic Valium,” is the perfect ending to this whirlwind of a debut. We’re back to the club with some hot horn action—definitely my kind of party. Simply put, it’s fun. Less simply put, this track finishes off the LP with a celebration of life. You’ll just have to see for yourself.
Solar Taxi’s debut LP Broken Brother’s Secret Bells is a stellar ride through the cosmos’ greatest dance party. Its ups and downs will have you hooked from the very beginning. With their unique disco-meets-classic soul-meets-2012 sound, Solar Taxi shows much promise that demands to be noticed.