Nearly a decade has passed since the last AM Taxi full-length, their debut We Don’t Stand a Chance. Similarly to other acclaimed 2010 albums by punk bands like Against Me!, Titus Andronicus, and The Gaslight Anthem, it was much indebted to rock and roll acts like Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band; unfortunately, perhaps because of that, the band didn’t quite gain the traction the others did on the album’s release. They spent most of the 2010s since laying low, releasing a couple of EPs, but now they’re back with Shiver By Me, and what a return it is.
Let’s get one thing out of the way upfront – comparisons to The Gaslight Anthem are unavoidable. Vocalist Adam Krier does indeed sound remarkably similar to Brian Fallon, and the bands do play a similar style. Imagine the band Gaslight might’ve been in between the rougher Sink or Swim days and the more Springsteenesque The ’59 Sound and you’ve got a pretty good idea what to expect out of AM Taxi. That doesn’t mean, however, that Shiver By Me doesn’t stand on its own.
The album’s very opening song might fool you into expecting a more aggressive record. “Saint Jane” is a no-frills punk song built around gang vocals, more driving than anything Gaslight ever released. “Movie About Your Life” begins sparsely, with just drums and a single soft guitar before opening into a classic AM Taxi chorus; it’s a perfect blend of experimentation and tradition and easily one of the band’s best songs. Elsewhere “Stuck Around” is a straightforward punk rock song, complete with “ba-da-da-da”s and a catchy hook. “Minute Alone” takes that formula and dials it back a bit, allowing its bombastic chorus to hit even harder.
Perhaps the best thing about Shiver By Me is that, although it harks back to a sound from ten years ago, it still sounds fresh. It doesn’t feel like a retread or an imitation, but as the natural continuation of the sound AM Taxi helped cultivate back then. It’s a worthy follow-up to We Don’t Stand a Chance , and it’s a more than worthy torchbearer for the sound. Hopefully, we won’t need to wait another decade for LP3.