Don't you love it when a band manages to have a unique sound, creative songs, and comes out of left field to smack you in the head? Chicago-based AM Taxi is a young band that manages to mix punk with modern pop, offering their experiences with modern arrangements. It's impossible for me to believe that these guys have been playing together less than two years.
AM Taxi was formed about two years ago by a trio of musical pals - singer/songwriter Adam Krier, drummer Chris Smith, and bassist Jason Schultejann. They produced their first EP - Runaway Songs - and were then joined by brothers John and Luke Schmitt on guitar and keyboards. After another EP - The Good, The Bad and The Fed Up - they were ready to tackle a major-label (Virgin Records) debut We Don't Stand a Chance. They worked with producer Mike McCarthy (Spoon, Patty Griffin, and You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead) to capture the way they sounded doing live performances while in the studio.
And I think their album title says it all. But the "We" in this case is the throngs of fans they're going to attract as they release this album, play locally in Chicago, and go on the Vans Warped Tour. "We" really don't stand a chance.
Starting with "Dead Street," they lay down an infectious beat with emotional punch as they describe the fate of people stuck in our current economy. "Dead Street" is a place where there aren't any jobs and you can't find a way to improve your situation. "All the strung-out kids on Dead Street / Gave her directions and a fix / She's got money left for the ticket out / She'd rather drink 'til she don't exist..." That about says it all. Is there a way out in some of these industrial areas that were clobbered when they economy crashed?
The album continues with "The Mistake" which merges almost spoken-word poetry with some vicious electric guitars, a light keyboard melody and drum beat in the background. Again, the lyrics say it all as the person being sung to is told over and over that hanging out with the singer is a bad idea that may lead to a worse end... "I am the truth you couldn't take, I am the mistake / Worst you ever made..." Not cheerful by any stretch, yet expressive in the extreme telling the story again of someone stuck in a life who clings to even bad decisions to avoid change.