Taken By Cars made a lot of buzz during the start of the year when their brand of dance rock got a well-deserved mention in a Time Magazine article. Along with four other bands from Asia, Taken By Cars were named as one of the best musical acts to watch out for in 2011. It definitely put the spotlight on the band right before the release of their much-anticipated second album Dualist.
Their first album Endings of a New Kind drew acclaim from a lot of quarters so a lot of musical aficionados awaited their second studio effort. Staying true to their already established musical approach, Dualist shows the band’s dedication to their preferred sound while continuing to develop towards the direction that they want to follow.With influences like Deerhunter among others, it really is clear that the band means business despite all the things they have had to go through during the interim between albums. For more on that, join the over 14k fans the band has on their Taken By Cars Facebook page.
The great thing about the band is that they do offer something new but they don’t take you out of your comfort zone so much that you get lost in the esotericism of it all. A perfect example of this novel yet accessible (enough) sound is the first track on Dualist – ‘This Is Our City’. The band was generous enough to offer this one up on Splintr for a limited time and it’s an awesome way for people to know more about the general mood of the second album – the band admits that it reflects the ups and downs that they had to go through to have this record finished. The first track has a lot of get up and go in it and is a perfect opener for an album like Dualist. It’s certainly a taste of the things to come.
Another standout from the album is ‘Unidentified’ – a song that explores dealing with persistent individuals who are really glorified nuisances. Despite the potentially frustrating topic, the song has a catchy hook that does make it a lot more pleasant than the actual topic.
The band slows down a few beats with the very chill “Thrones: Indifference” that features heavily textured guitars and electronica.¬† It’s still undeniably Taken by Cars but it’s from the opposite side of the octane spectrum – there’s less get up and go in this song and more room for emotional depth and spacey effects.
The following song “Thrones: Equals” pushes the boundaries a bit further with a quirkier treatment of the vocals and the general progression of track. The lyrics do hint at a glint of frustration and apprehension and the song does the whole idea of building drama and anticipation fairly well.
‘Autopilot’ also does well in conjuring the the snowballing of tension as it crescendos after a series of very catchy verses. It all explodes in a rich blanket of sonic madness in the end in a seamless stream of musical chaos that dies in a glorious and almost sobering feedback.
Taken By Cars definitely deserves all the accolades they deserve. The band raised the bar yet again with Dualist and it’s not unlikely that their fans would be eagerly awaiting the follow-up to this already successful release.