Taxiride – Imaginate

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Album Review by Mark Bayross

Why do minicab drivers never know where the hell they are going? And why do Australian bands deliberately rub in how hot and sunny it is over there? Why else would they write a song like ICE CREAM, a song so goddamn sunny and happy that we rain-soaked British risk feeling culturally lost listening to it?

Taxiride hail (sorry) from Melbourne and are currently Australia’s brightest new musical talent. Having enjoyed top ten success with two singles, EVERYWHERE YOU GO and GET SET, both included here, and made a splash in the US (GET SET found its way onto the ELECTION soundtrack), they are now making a bid for these shores.

If ever there was a candidate for album of the summer, this is it. IMAGINATE just beams rays of sunlight into your life. Coming across like Crowded House meets prog-rock giants Toto, even LET’S SPEND THE NIGHT, a song about the break-up of a relationship, still manages to sound jolly and upbeat: “It’s the last time that we’ll spend together / It’s the only thing left in our lives / But as long as we still have each other / Let’s spend the night”.

This is impeccably produced guitar pop: huge harmonies, polished keyboard lines and guitars more hook-laden than a champion fisherman’s tackle. Occasionally, their sound grows to a full strings and piano ballad: LET ME DIE YOUNG and COUNTING DOWN THE DAYS are both full-on tear-jerkers that are as lush and beautiful as the kind of ballads Take That used to release around Christmas.

The Beach Boys / Beatles harmonies really dominate towards the end of the album – on the closing HELPLESSLY HOPING, the similarity is uncanny. However, there are occasional sublime moments of inventiveness – sitars and keyboard effects (listen to the intro to ROCKETSHIP) – and EVERYWHERE YOU GO is infuriatingly catchy.

So, depending on your mood, this is a shiny, happy album full of pop sunshine and the odd moment of joyful melancholy, or it’s an annoying grinning bugger of sub-Beach Boys piffle. As soon as the UK decides to have a summer, you can find out for yourselves.

4 stars