The Taxpayers – To Risk So Much for One Damn Meal The Taxpayers – To Risk So Much for One Damn Meal

The Tax Payers - To Risk so Much for One Damn Meal

The Tax Payers - To Risk so Much for One Damn Meal

Every folk punk band has to grow up eventually; it’s a fact of life. Some mature their sound better than others (see: Against Me!) and Portland, Oregon’s The Taxpayer’s do it better. While the band’s earlier releases (including the excellent A Rhythm in Cages, which is available for free online at were prime examples of acoustic/folk/country flavored punk rock, the band takes a broader and more adventurous approach on To Risk So Much for One Damn Meal. While the sound is still undoubtedly punk as fuck, there’s ragtime-style piano in half of the songs, a couple hundred horn lines, and Springsteen-like working class flair.

The Taxpayers are frantic, they’re desperate, they’re playing music to save their lives. From what, I do not know, but they’re definitely in danger. Avoiding explicitly singing about politics, the band chooses instead to scream about life and their frustration with it; “Disappointment is a paycheck spent on food,” yelps Rob Taxpayer in his permanently- hoarse voice on “And the Damn Thing Bit Him!” The whole album echoes a positive nihilism, but nihilism sure enough. The world’s going to end and these Northwest punks are going down with it, but not without screaming their voices out with backpacks full of various liquors and homebrews. “It’s been a very, very long year and it’s gonna be an even longer night.”

Musically, the band sounds something like if Operation Ivy and Defiance, Ohio were caught making out in a blistering snow storm. The album is composed of 13 songs, nearly none of which sound much alike. Be it the wandering piano of “It Gets Worse Every Minute” or the tandem male-female vocals on the fiery, 80’s hardcore-hearkening sub-1:30 blast “Geodesic Prison Song,” The Taxpayers never fail to mix things up, as has always been the case. The album’s shining moment, “Some Kind of Disaster Relief,” manages to mix a bouncing, swing- like brass lead with clapping hands and still be one of the punkest songs you’ll hear this year. Most of all though, The Taxpayers are incredibly catchy, even if the poppiness is buried under a landfill of raw vocals, distorted guitars, and obscenities.

This is pretty much one of the best releases of 2010. With but two months left, I’m calling it in my personal top three. Buy the CD at for a sliding scale of 5 to 10 dollars, all coming with a zine “complete with essays, song explanations, science experiments, and more.”

The Taxpayers - To Risk So Much for One Damn Meal, reviewed by Jesser on 2010-11-18T13:36:39-08:00 rating 4.0 out of 5

2 Responses about “The Taxpayers – To Risk So Much for One Damn Meal”

  • Ben Sommer says:

    Harmonica, crusty guitar, crustier vox, horns, solo bass drum. Great production.

  • Joe says:

    This review is exactly how I feel about the album. Well done. Op Ivy and Defiance, Ohio? That comparison made my night. The Taxpayers are on tour right now. Go support a group of great people and great musicians.