Friday, December 17, 2010

Review: TAG “Forward”

TAG is the new musical vehicle by Jersey rocker John Taglieri, who is no stranger to the stage. With years of continuous touring and seven solo albums under his belt (his latest EP was reviewed here), music has been his life. Taglieri has won numerous pop rock awards and shared the stage with heavy hitter acts such as Edwin McCain, The Gin Blossoms, Gavin DeGraw, and Sister Hazel. His new band is rounded out by longtime co-writer and guitarist Brad Whitley, Tom Darby (keys, harp, guitar), Dave Willard (bass) and Rob “Action” Jackson (drums).

For those of you familiar with Taglieri’s music, TAG is undoubtedly going to please you. For those of you who aren’t yet acquainted, Taglieri is a Springsteen-Bon Jovi hybrid - a good time rock and roller who is one part bar band and another part arena rocker. TAG provides a new forum to do the same thing he’s been doing for years – consistently belting out memorable and fun pop rockers. The band has an excellent chemistry, providing moments for each individual to shine while teaming up for effective ear pleasing harmonies.

“After Farewell” could not be a better choice to start off the record, with its crunchy verses leading up to a fiery chorus that will be stuck in your head for days. “After Farewell” is a fine example of the band’s full potential. “Breathe” is a slow burning rocker with a touch of blues and another highly melodic chorus that will leave you breathless. TAG slows things down a bit with power ballad “Fly”, a beautiful acoustic-driven slice of AOR with electric guitars crashing down at all the right spots. The next few tracks go into classic bar band territory – vintage Taglieri, but not as melodic as the other songs. Despite its curious title, the mid-tempo “The Lives of Splattered Flies” is an effective mix of alternative rock and AOR. “With You I Want To Be” is another ace power ballad, its haunting tone creating a welcome dynamic at this point in the record. These tunes help build a strong finish for “Forward”, but the unremarkable cover of “Drive” (by Incubus) ends the record on a disappointing note.

TAG kicked off a midwest tour on November 26, which will be followed by a cross-country US tour in January. “Forward” is available now.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 8, 9

TAG on MySpace. Official site.

Check out a video: