Release Date: September 16, 2008
Reviewed by Evelyn Miska

“Our Long Road Home” is Taproot’s first full-length release since parting ways with Atlantic Records in 2006. The product of those last two years is not only a new album but also a new approach. After their departure from Atlantic Records, Taproot decided not to sign to another label but instead self-produce the album in conjunction with Velvet Hammer Records. What is the result of these efforts? A perfectly adequate album with a number of decent songs and only a few slip-ups. “Our Long Road Home” may not burn up the charts, but there are some solid songs in the mix, so unless listeners are looking for earth-shattering innovation, this isn’t a bad set of songs.

The album gets going with “Path Less Taken,” a mixture of run-of-the-mill rock and screaming. However, for listeners that might not be as thrilled with the vocal-chord-shredding approach to music, there is relatively little of this on the track. More melodic is the album’s first single, “Wherever I Stand,” although it sounds slightly dated. “Be The 1” falls victim to a little of the cheesiness and typical clichés of modern rock, but if one can set that aside, the song isn’t bad. The demure verses lead into a harder chorus and the two balance each other well. “Hand That Holds True” and “Take It” follow similar patterns to the opening tracks: they’re not bad but wouldn’t stand out on the radio either.

“It’s Natural” manages to set itself apart from other tracks on the album with the inclusion of a female vocalist singing behind lead singer Stephen Richards. The sentiment of the song hangs onto the cheese factor (growing older), but the novelty of the change in vocals saves the song. The album has a short instrumental interlude with “Stethoscope” and the placement is somewhat strange since neither the track before it, “You’re Not Home Tonight, nor the following track, “Run To” is particularly hard.

Overall, “Our Long Road Home” isn’t disappointing, but it isn’t thrilling either. Taproot may have settled into a sound that works for them, but innovation isn’t necessarily part of the package.

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