The Taj Motel Trio - Life of the Party
Release Date: 2003
Record Label: Metal Skunk Records
It's no understatement to say that it's not everyday you stumble across a band with that particular sound that any music fan craves, as well as a specific knack for crafting song after song that you can't help but sing along to, but The Taj Motel Trio break down the barriers of those requests with a sound of their own, and the end result is fantastic. Hailing from Georgia, the band released their sophmore effort, Life of the Party, in 2003 via Metal Skunk records, and have been touring in support of it ever since. However, with such a lack of promotion and buzz behind the album, it proves to be somewhat of a challenge to formulate high expectations before endulging yourselves in this product, but I assure you such expectations would not sit out of place. Life of the Party is fast, fun, and contains more memorable moments than any listener could ask for.
The record opens itself with "TTMT", which stands as a short acronym for the bands name. The track itself could be accurately described as an "insane, ska-punk frenzy", as the bands power, speed, and skill are mesmerizing. The energy in the opening track alone, which is complemented nicely by the bands four-piece horn section, is unmatched, and creates for an exciting thrill-ride from start to finish. Following the kickoff comes "Once Again", a song that follows in the bands same successful formula, but offers enough infectious hooks to attract the listener once more. The track opens with a hint of punk-rock flavour, before sailing perfectly into the bands signature, third-wave ska sound. Lead vocalist/guitarist Ben Sander's voice is raw, yet manages to retain the heart-pounding energy that so many vocalists often lack within this particular genre. On the fourth track, the band throws their own unique spin on The Temptations classic "My Girl". Although particular lyrics, including "I've got so much honey, the bees envy me", sound slightly out of place amongst the rest of the bands fist-pumping anthems, the band manages to successfully make the track their own, and best of all, they do it with ease. Additionally, it's nice to take a breather here and there as the band performs at a slightly slower tempo than we've grown used to at this point. However, on the title track "Life of the Party", the bands speed is back full-throttle, and although it only runs for just over a minute, it creates for a fairly exciting experience courtesy of the groups mesmerizing instrumentation.
Moving forwards, "King of Wasted Time", is without a doubt one of the most impressive listens you'll come across here. From the opening upstrokes, to the chaotic horn arrangement, to the powerful, sing-along chorus, everything about the track is performed perfectly and will be much appreciated by any fan. On the other hand, on "The Happy Song", we see the band embark slightly out of their usual territory onto possibly even more exhilarating ground. To be quite honest, the track is quite reminiscent of Reel Big Fish's Turn The Radio Off era, and wouldn't sound out of place during the records running time in the slightest. The song opens with a radio-quality intro before gradually transforming into the flawless sound the band has created, thus making the track an instant classic. Following "The Happy Song" comes "Be Myself", which although doesn't manage to unlock a new domain, still amounts to be listed as a personal favourite of mine when all is said and done. Lyrically, the track is descriptive of the way a specific gentleman acts while in the company of his significant other. Now, before moving onto a quick play-by-play of the next track, you've got to ask yourself a question. What would you expect from a track with a title that is only three letters long, what appears to be the sound one makes when they're excited, and followed by three exclamation points? If you didn't answer with a jaunty, ska-punk anthem, then i'm not exactly sure why you've read this far. But, for those of you who responded appropriately, you'll be happy to know that that's exactly what you'll recieve. Although the track isn't about WWE superstar Ric Flair (which is sort of misleading due to its name), it's not a letdown in the slightest. The energy is consistent, and the bands same formula is intact. However, on the records twelfth track, "She's Mad", I believe these musicians have finally risen to the challenge and found their time to shine. It's evident from the explosive horn intro alone that this is not an offering to skip over, and in reality, a gem that is waiting to be explored. To close off the record we reach "Purple 15" and "Rock Star", which will not only have you singing along, but clapping your hands, dancing around like a maniac, and waving your arms, as well, all the while bringing this release to a fantastic, accomplished finish.
In conclusion, while some tracks on Life of the Party are considerably shorter than most listeners would prefer, each track manages to offer something everyone can enjoy, and I applaud the band for their marvelous, successful efforts. The Taj Motel Trio have created an album packed from beginning to end with fan-favourites, and enough infectious energy to keep any listener raving for months to come. Each member of the band consistently shines at all given opportunities, and it's safe to say that these musicians have quite the futures before them. Additionally, and on a closing note, I'd like to quickly draw attention once more to the bands eruptive horn section, which without a doubt contains some of the most well-playing musicians I have ever come across. I'm undoubtedly excited to hear what the band will do next, but I assure you that if it gives me a feeling anywhere close to the one Life of the Party did, I'll find myself in awe once more.
This review is a user submitted review from Brandon Allin. You can see all of Brandon Allin's submitted reviews here.
I saw them a couple of weeks back at a pizza place in Tennessee and there were at least 100-200 kids there. It was a good time. Everyone should check this band out, and Ska Weekend 2006. It'll be a fun time.
im a local and a big fanboy for the band. they rock u should really check out their music. they recently opened for bon jovi in gwinnet arena. it was kicking. skafest 2006 woohoo! and soon they are going on tour in PN NJ An the upper northeast :)