After many years of not hearing from John, it seems that I am reviewing new material from him on a regular basis over the past couple of years. Last time out John teamed up with some of his regular collaborators for the TAG band project and a full length album. This time we are back to the EP format listed under his own name.
With the TAG album I had bit of a revelation in that I finally got the fact that John has moved AOR to modern melodic pop rock. In tune with this the opening track, Losing Me, is a slice of said genre that will be familiar with those who checked out the TAG album. The majority of songs on the EP are acoustic modern rock songs within which John successfully conveys a range of emotion. On “Without You’ we have a sound that could best be described as countrified Nickelback. Whereas Sister Hazel are probably a useful reference point for closer “Not Gonna Be My Life”. However, the reference points are just that and John’s own identity shines throughout.
Single “Make Me Believe” has been doing well in Amazon’s Adult Contemporary Charts and interestingly I actually think it is one of the weaker tracks on the album where the verses don’t quite match the quality of the catchy chorus. I guess that is testimony enough to the strength of the material on offer here.
I’m a bit surprised by this release. I was expecting the next time I would hear from John Taglieri was the next installment of the Lives project. Instead, he has formed a band and as well as re-recording some material from the first Lives EP, has written some new songs. The band includes Brad Whitley, Tom Darby, Dave Willard and Rob Jackson.
After listening to this album for while, I realised that John has moved on from the time I reviewed his ‘Leap Of Faith’ album. It is now more correct to describe his music as modern rock. I should be talking about bands like Sister Hazel etc rather than Bon Jovi or Springsteen. A fact that didn’t quite hit me when I was reviewing his first Lives EP.
Talking of the Lives EP, obviously the new versions of those songs are the ones that are most familiar to me. I still find myself maybe listening too much to the lyrics and not paying enough attention to the music. “After Farewell” gets the album off to a good start and the album moves along nicely. Most of the songs are mid-tempo modern rock tracks in which a hint of John’s past shows through. Depending on my mood I find the rockabilly “Ghost” and the circus meets new wave “Ferris Wheel” irk me sometimes and I skip them. All credit to the guys for doing something a little different and I may be in the minority here as a few other reviewers have singled these tracks out as album highlights. For me that award goes to the catchy “Lives Of Splattered Flies”.
One interesting little side note is that the kids asked about this album when I was playing it in the car whereas they usually dismiss my music as ‘people screaming’ and prefer me switch on the radio. So it looks like TAG get a thumbs up not only from this old metalhead, but also the next generation in my household.
Rating: 3 stars