Taxi Caveman – Galactic Slope Review

I’ll not proclaim any prior knowledge of this band, nor even a particular affinity for their advertised genre of stoner metal. These Polish gents were selected on the bases of an excellent name and central conceit of an album featuring just 2 tracks over 30 minutes. Over that length of time, I was at least assured that it would not be too taxing to review Taxi Caveman. Interestingly, Galactic Slope is described on its one sheet as a sophomore bridge between their debut and third album, the expression of which suggests to me that it’s not a substantial release in its own right. Given there are but 2 tracks, and at great risk of editorial wrath, I’ll take each in turn.

“… and the Druids Turn to Sand” turns in a curious but compelling fusion of progressive rock and stoner metal. Its lively drumming and warm guitars recall Taxi Caveman’s compatriots Weedpecker, exhibiting a whimsy and levity that ensures it’s a fun listen. It tracks a course through a core loop that underpins much of the song, one minute only distinguishing itself from another through the gently noodling guitar solo at the top of the mix. There’s an almost-imperceptible swell into something a little meatier and more substantial for the concluding minutes but it doesn’t truly escape the gentle sway characterizing the majority. It isn’t always the most demanding music but it’s a pleasant listen and will slowly wind through your head.

If the opener is progressive stoner, then the closer is more like doomy stoner. “Death Cards” is more destructive, stomping across its musical landscape with a darker and more powerful sound. It has a stronger riff orientation, made more obvious through the thicker guitar tone. Like “…and the Druids,” it’s very repetitive, but unlike “… and the Druids” it plods rather than meanders. “Death Cards” is by some margin the lesser of the two halves of Galactic Slope. The first half has an intriguing and light-hearted approach which overcomes its simplicity and repetition, but the second fails to replace this with really compelling leads. None are bad, but none are particularly good either. It counter-intuitively has less energy even though it’s heavier. I find myself pausing it far more and struggling to maintain my focus.

Both halves of Galactic Slope center around their guitars as the focal instrument, and the consistency of stoner music sits across the whole length. But even across the progressive/doom split depicting different sides to Taxi Caveman’s sound, the key commonality is the songs’ improvised nature. As already mentioned, there’s plenty of repetition and only extremely gradual development across both tracks. The development which is present is fairly directionless, other than each becoming a little heavier for their finales. This is somewhat disappointing given how much time you need to invest into each track. And despite the chunkier riffs on “Death Cards,” the leads aren’t especially showy or dominant across the whole release, largely leaving the guitars to build texture and meandering solos. I get the distinct sense that these songs weren’t fully written-down at any point in their production.

Galactic Slope isn’t the most demanding listen and is far from essential. In this iteration, Taxi Caveman lack both edge and finesse, producing warm but poorly defined songs. There are lots of stoner-influenced bands that the album could have been released by. And yet it’s reasonably enjoyable as background listening, especially across “… and the Druids.” They’re a band that knows how to use texture and how to create free-form, intriguing music. It may be a little too slow, a little too repetitive and a little too lilting, but if you can accept these deficiencies then its strengths will shine a little too.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps MP3
Label: Interstellar Smoke Records
Websites: |
Releases worldwide: September 9th, 2022

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