Release Date: August 16, 2005
Reviewed by Vin Cherubino

After making a flawless debut with “Gift”, many felt that Taproot’s follow up album “Welcome” was a disappointment that never really tapped into their potential.

Three years later, “Blue Sky Research” comes along and successfully blends together the raw elements of “Gift” along with the more melodic moments of “Welcome”. Blue Sky Research is the amalgamation of the best parts of Taproot’s previous albums.

With such a solid album, using “Calling” as the first single is a mistake. Easily the weakest track of the album, its bland hook and radio friendly styling gives the wrong impression of the album. In no way does it show the highlights of Stephen Richards’ lyrics, nor the amplified aggression used at precisely the right moments in many of the songs. The melodic yet driving tracks “I Will Not Fall for You”, “Promise”, “Lost in the Woods” or “Birthday” could have easily taken the place of “Calling”, while staying mainstream friendly for airplay.

But mainstream recycled garbage is far from what this album offers. Tracks such as “Facepeeler”, “Nightmare“, and “Blue Sky Research, What’s Left” bring back much of the harnessed power that was missing in Taproot’s previous release “Welcome”.

A strong highlight track, “Blue Sky Research, What’s Left” starts off as what seems to be an electric-acoustic, instrumental final track, yet turns into one of the heaviest tracks of the album. Richards’ trademark growl gets put to good use, and the end of the song signifies how well the album fits well together as a whole.

Much of the issues fans had with “Welcome” have been addressed this time around. Those who loved the power and aggression of “Gift” and the melodic introspective of “Welcome” will be thoroughly impressed with “Blue Sky Research”. Chevelle fans should also take interest.

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