The Takers are the latest entry in the country revival coming out of the punk scene over the last few years. What sets The Takers apart from most of these bands is their absolute ability to sound like a normal old school country band. That is to say, there isn't some folk punk nonsense or a punk chorus or even a slight foray into alt-country ideas. This is exactly what the one sheet says when they compare the band to Waylon Jennings and such.
So after a short run 7" and some touring over the past year we get a ten-song LP. This album is as bare bones as one could ask for. Fitting perfectly with the style, there's nothing here that the band wouldn't be able to play live. The acoustic guitar leading the way through each song while drums and pedal steel keep everything moving. Devin's vocals take on a gruff but never fierce quality sounding like he takes shots of whiskey with his coffee in the morning. This alone helps to add a special sense of world weariness and authenticity to both the lyrics and the overall style of the album.
Musically speaking, the drums are strong but nothing special as they stick to a nice rockabilly style beat for the most part with very few fills. This acts as a continuation of the overall disinterest this band seems to have for rock and roll conventions. Notably nothing sticks out too much in the instrumental sense. Everything just flows together building simple but sound structures to carry the vocals. The star tends to be the pedal steel from time to time every once in awhile peeking out from the mix to play a lead or even carry a verse at times. This is another nod to The Takers love of old school country.
I hate to beat a dead horse but everything about this album smacks of old school country music. Everything from the rebelliousness of Cash to the "tear in your beer" despair of Hank play a role and find a home here. The artwork helps to carry this aesthetic with sketchy drawings of bar scenes. Everything here fits together perfectly nothing feels out of place or moves too fast or slow.
The downside however seems to be the band's revival quality. Everything fits into the old style country and nothing is out of place almost playing like an album of covers for songs that you haven't heard. This can be great as it carries a familiarity unfortunately it seems almost too familiar at times. Hopefully The Takers find something to help them truly sound more like their own band for the next LP. Until then we have truly enjoyable LP of classic country played by a modern band.
8.0 / 10
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