DEATH & TAXES - Tattooed Hearts & Broken Promises

Death & Taxes - Tattooed Hearts & Broken Promises

10 songs
43:02 minutes
***** **
I Scream


Scene veteran Jeff Morris, one of the founding members of street punk pioneers Bruisers, is back with his new band Death & Taxes, and considering his expansive punk background, many of you will be surprised to hear that he embraces a different musical direction with his new three-piece consisting furthermore of bass player Mike Savitkas (who played also with the Bruisers on their reunion tour) and drummer Steve Toland. Before they were Death & Taxes, they were all three together in the instrumental band ZFE, but probably thought that commercial success would be more likely with added vocals.

Like I hinted, don’t expect any purebred punk rock. Instead age must have made these guys a little more introspective, getting them to play us Americana tinged rock ballads with excursions into folk, singer/songwriter and only very occasional burst of punk energy. This is closer to Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen than to Bruisers, but at least the band sounds sincere throughout their three quarters of an hour playing time. Yes, at times I wished them to grab their rock guitars and let the sparks fly, but that’s only happening on a few tracks, like All These Things or the title track.

Morris’ vocals are an acquired taste. I have a few problems with his sometimes to gravelly voice, giving me the impression that he wants to sound like Tom Waits but isn’t quite yet there. In the end, Tattooed Hearts & Broken Promises is a surprisingly good album though, recorded by a band that is supposedly just as good when they play unplugged. Everyone who is into this post-punk (in the meaning of punks that do no longer play punk) Mike Ness and Social Distortions sound should check out what this former Bruisers founding member is doing now with his all new band.

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