Tax The Heat – Change Your Position


The dawning of a new arena-rock band

Yeah, it was released on the 9 March 2018 and Allan’s only just got around to reviewing it

I first saw these guys supporting Terrorvision with my dad, who was impressed enough at the time to buy their debut album. At the time, we thought that they were a promising support act, but that they sounded like they were going to push in some interesting directions. The next album was always likely to be telling in terms of progression as to where they saw themselves and whether this rock-and-roll thing was the long-term niche in which they saw themselves.

Despite having the same producer as the debut, this album unsurprisingly manages to sound completely different to the debut. Gone are the rock and country influences in favour of something far more commercially viable. Sure, tracks like ‘Playing With Fire’ are still recognisably from the same stable, but that’s not par for the course with the rest of the album.

Let me get the ‘negative’ out of the way – this is definitely more pop/radio-friendly in a way that reminds me of Muse’s later work at times. It’s still heavy and crunchy with an overall rock vibe, but delivered in such a way that embraces the more accessible nature of pop. The fact that it was recorded live comes across in the fluidity and timing that pervades throughout, too. There’s a sense of tightness and togetherness that pulls everything together and elevates it. There’s still the underlying bluesy tonality, but it’s been layered and thickened – rather than replaced, it’s been built on and expanded to put the band into something of a unique position in the rock world.

Tracks like the title track ‘Change Your Position’ bring in some electronica and couple it with an utterly filthy bassline. ‘All That Medicine’ take that electronic influence even further to produce something that could go down on any dancefloor with ease. Then they back it all off and throw in a big ballad like ‘The Last Time’ which sounds like something right out of the 70s, and then it gets all Bowie on us with ‘Wearing a Disguise.’ But while you can point out influences, they’re always secondary to the overall flow and feel of what the band are pulling together.

The more I’ve listened to it, the more it’s grown on me. Sure, it’s more approachable and friendly, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Each track sounds distinct, and it’s an assured sophomore album by a band who sound more comfortable in their own skin this time around. It’s creative, distinctive, and delivered with panache. There’s a confidence and a feeling of freedom coming through this time around. It’s perhaps a little too forward-looking for some, and a little too pop-friendly for others, but if you take it for what it is, you’ll find it grows on you, and that there’s the dawning of a new arena-rock band right in front of you.

Tax The Heat – Change Your PositionTrack list:

  1. Money In The Bank
  2. Change Your Position
  3. Playing With Fire
  4. All That Medicine
  5. On The Run
  6. The Last Time
  7. Taking The Hit
  8. My Headspace
  9. We Are Consumers
  10. Cut Your Chains
  11. Wearing A Disguise
  12. The Symphony Has Begun