An improvement over their debut EP, Never Get out of These Blues Alive, the Takers' first full-length album still isn't that much different from the grinding punk-swamp muck of the prior release. It's still a soundtrack to a never-ending horror movie of internal psychic demons as relayed in the twisting, oft-cord-shredding vocals of Mike Carreiro. Actually it does end, after eight songs and 45 minutes, but the way it puts listeners through the mill, it feels as least twice as long. Combining grinding, sometimes lurch-tempo guitars, flashes of spy movie reverb, and occasional jazzy film noir rhythms (particularly on the opening "One Last Chance"), the band does establish a tense atmosphere that's periodically amplified by dramatically accelerating and decelerating speeds. The songs are unremitting ruminations of pain, failure, and self-abuse. Those are motifs that can be riveting in the right hands and in the appropriate doses. But such moods are hammered in so repeatedly on this album that the effect is to inure listeners to the drama and emotion of the songs, with their continual recriminations against others and themselves and resigned boasts about their hearts turning into napalm and the ever-darkening blackness at the end of the tunnel.
If the Blues Were Red Review
by Richie Unterberger