TASTE – Moral Decay

First of all, let’s make one thing clear before you continue your reading – this is NOT some hidden album by Rory Gallagher’s old band. This Taste is something completely different. This Taste is a project formed back in 2009 by Swedish brothers Christoffer (lead vocals, lead & rhythm guitar, bass, synth) and Felix (drums, bass, acoustic guitar, synth) Borg. Influenced by bands like FM, Strangeways and Giant, the boys got to work and in 2013 they released their self-titled debut album, apparently to much critical acclaim. After a few gigs here and there, the guys joined Art Nation, another Swedish AOR constellation. After two albums – Revolution (2015) and Liberation (2017) (both really good albums, I must add) – the brothers decided to leave the band in 2017 to focus on getting Taste back and running again and signed a deal with AOR Heaven, who also put out the debut, and began work on their second outfit. Taste’s debut album passed me by completely so their brand new record is my first acquaintance with the boys.

Opener “On The Run” is a time machine back to 1986 – synthesizers, electronic drums and synth-bass – and I’m wondering if Ron Nevison sneaked his way into the studio to produce this song. It’s an instrumental piece – more of an intro, actually – that sounds like it could have come directly from some 80’s TV-serie or movie like “Miami Vice” or “The Beverly Hills Cop”. “Alive” is AOR-rock in uptempo where the synthesizer and the guitars goes equally as high in the mix. This is a song that belongs in the mid-80’s and it holds a big, catchy and very Pop refrain that’s pretty hard to not hum along to. This is stuff I dug hard in my early twenties and I still have a soft spot for it which is why I totally dig this tune. It seems like every AOR/Melodic Rock band needs a song called “Dangerous” so why shouldn’t Taste? It’s an upbeat AOR track that sound wise is pure Scandi-AOR but also holds a big chunk of Hard Rock. It contains a wall of keyboards and a big, full-bodied refrain that hits right away. Very good.

“On My Shoulder” is a big, pompous Melodic Rock power ballad in mid pace that belongs back in 1989. Complete with a huge, shamelessly catchy refrain this tune is heaven for lovers of power ballads. The rest will probably puke on it. I’m a sucker for a well-written power ballad and this is very well-written so I’ll give it my thumbs up. “Rainbow Warrior” is an uptempo AOR tune on a Hard Rock foundation and a big groove. The big keyboards and the wall of backing vocals gives the tune a huge 80’s feel and the whole thing is very bombastic and over-blown. But it’s catchy as hell and I just can’t help liking this. “The Fire Inside” is darker and pretty heavy for an AOR track but that the guys most likely are into heavier Rock definitely shows here. But this is not Metal, this is AOR with both its feet in the mid to late 80’s and the boys sure knows their 80’s stuff. A very good song with really good refrain.

The keyboards and guitars co-exists like the best of friends on the uptempo and quite driven rocker “Adventureland”. For you who have heard the brilliant Wildness record, that’s where this tune lands. Memorable melodies, a very catchy chorus and a fine mix of Rock and AOR – very good. The title track is pretty in-your-face, straight-forward and quite punchy and the chorus takes aim and hits you right between the eyes – very good. Taste rocks things up some with “My Worst Enemy”, a tune that brings on a more Hard Rock sound not a far cry from how Europe sounded back in the 80’s before they went total AOR with The Final Countdown. But that’s just the verses, when the refrain – a very catchy one, I might add – comes in we’re back to the pink n’ fluffy AOR. Still the raunchiness is great and much needed. My favorite on the album.

“Lost In Myself” comes in a mid pace and brings on a pink n’ fluffy vibe that was very common for especially Swedish bands in the mid 80’s. So it’s very smooth and slick but it do hold a good groove – and of course a really sticky sweet refrain. Good tune. First single “We Are Back” comes with some big 80’s guitar riffs and a stompy rhythm which brings on a fist-in-the-air vibe. The tune, especially the chorus, is more of an Arena Rock tune even though all AOR ingredients are present. This is very 1989 to me and I can almost see the guys blasting out the chorus on MTV. “Sixteen Years” is another power ballad. This one is a bit more melancholic, saddening and melodramatic and feels very emotional and honest. It do brings on a feel of the Arena Rock power ballads of 1991 and to me, this is very memorable. Very good. The album ends like it began – with an instrumental. “More Than A Thousand Charades” have got a darker mood but other wise full of synth sounds and synth drums (ddrums??) and if there’s a guitar in there, I sure can’t hear it. Miami Vice and Beverly Hills Cop are back – even more than on the intro. This tune actually feels misplaced here and it’s not my kind of thing at all.

Yes, this is total AOR and nothing else and to be quite honest, even though I do like almost every song here – the guys sure knows how to write addictive choruses and melodies – the musical ideas here doesn’t really have an identity and I’m not sure why Taste should take up my time when I have so many other bands in this genre to listen to. Also, the production is a bit too flat and I’m sure it’s the guys’ intention for this to sound all 1986 but to me it only sounds dated. I mentioned Ron Nevison earlier and it sounds like he could have been involved here – something that’s never a good sign. Here’s the deal – in the last years we have gotten a plethora of AOR bands, both new and old, and more just keeps coming and it’s starting to get the best of me – they all are starting to sound the same and when identity is lacking, I have a problem embracing them. In Taste’s case, they are rescued by their ability to write good, catchy tunes that sticks whether you want them to or not but otherwise, Taste are just one of the bunch.

6/10

Tracklist:

1. On The Run
2. Alive
3. Dangerous
4. On My Shoulder
5. Rainbow Warrior
6. The Fire Inside
7. Adventureland
8. Moral Decay
9. My Own Worst Enemy
10. Lost In Myself
11. We Are Back
12. Sixteen Years
13. More Than A Thousand Charades

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