CD Review: Bos Taurus – “It’s Plain”

Delaware native Steve Chesser has put together a group of songs he describes as “anatomically correct indie pop.” It started as a group of home-grown demos and they are gathered here. The album starts out exceptionally strong with “Anyway, Anyhow” and one can compare the skilled melodies with multi-part guitars to Jeff Murphy or Todd Rundgren. The song tempo speeds up for the excellent “Dead Inside” which is the catchiest song about nihilism I’ve heard since Nillson’s “One” that isn’t a ballad. The guitar work and harmonies are beautifully composed and performed. “Fool” adds a slightly harder edge, and the juxtaposed guitar and vocals on “What Comes Around” are incredible, kind of like if Dave Grohl joined Sugar Ray, instead of Foo Fighters. The mid tempo ballad “The Day You Left” is another standout (although the metronome beat is annoying). Towards the latter end of the album the tone starts to change to more conventional jangle pop, this starts on “Evermore” and continues through “Some Say” where REM and Sebadoh’s DIY feel start to dominate the sound. Chesser also did everything here, all the instruments, recording and engineering. And that is my only pet peeve here, this album would be truly great if a top notch pop producer, like Jason Falkner got a hold of these tracks. The songs are too good for the lo-fi auteur approach. Don’t let that prevent you from hearing this though. Fans of REM, Shoes, and Smog will love this.

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Aaron Kupferberg