Rhythm & Views

Yellow Cabs

Tucson's own Yellow Cabs' first record, The Season, is yet another fine work of music production to recently leap out of the I Like Red studio, run by Nowhere Man frontman Vikas Pawa. Like its siblings (The Crouton's Suck and Nowhere Man's Considered to Tears) Pawa's expert recording skills are evident everywhere on the record, but The Season documents Yellow Cab's fast and furious rock almost too well. At times The Season sounds like a completely different Yellow Cabs than the trio that plays live; there are songs on The Season that grip to the production in a way that allows them to stand up and pound their bulky chest, Hulk-style. In other words, most of the songs sound way better on the record than played live.

Which isn't necessarily a bad thing; studio time can be kind of like finishing school for songs. Yellow Cabs' lead singer and songwriter Chris Morrison, who plays bass, doesn't make his songs too bass-heavy; the guitar, played by Pete Grosso, swings between glisten and crunch flawlessly, and the drums, played by Alex Crane on the record (Morgan Schlaline, one half of The Croutons, now plays drums for Yellow Cabs), form a triumvirate rock force along with Morrison's bass where each element watches the other's back, kind of like when three gun-toting good guys in the movies form a triangle with their backs to each other so that no one gets a cap in his ass. Grosso's playing on the record is a strong reminder that we have some damn amazing guitar players in this town, who play some damn amazing guitars--the best part of a Yellow Cabs show is arguably Grosso's red Gretsch.

Morrison's songs stomp simultaneously on Nirvana, Frank Black, Dinosaur Jr. and heavier stuff; "Staples," for example, could be a Nirvana song if Kurt Cobain had channeled his anger through more hardcore tubes. "Who's Good Word," "Metropolis," and "A Book in Every Room" are catchy alterna-pop songs (never thought you'd hear that word again, now, did ya?) and the title track rolls out with a slow, fuzzy guitar backed by an acoustic that almost makes you forget it's 2003 and no one wears flannel shirts anymore (unless they're lumberjacks, of course). Grosso wrote three of the songs on the record, adding a surf guitar/rockabilly dimension to the collection with "The Hamilton" and "Step it Up."

Despite the fact that the record showcases Yellow Cabs' songs better than when they're played live, The Season ain't no gypsy cab; Yellow Cabs have hailed the '90s rock taxi and are riding it 'til the meter maxes out.

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