Imagine if Björk had a little brother who was heavily influenced by the minimal ambience of Low. That’s the best way to describe Salt Lake City local act TaughtMe’s music. Blake Henderson, the hands, mind and voice behind this sound, describes Arms as Traps, his second collection of songs under the moniker, as “more human and fleshy, less shy and cloudy” than the last record, Ready to Go Under, which had a slightly more ambient and electronic flavor.
With lyrical inspira-tion from Phil Elvrum of The Microphones and Will Oldham, Henderson’s CD dis-plays an immense amount of human emotion and a unique collection of heartfelt themes. This is evident in lyrics like, ”You could be combing my hair/ While I’m clipping my fingernails...but you’re not gonna know where I’m at,” from ”Where I’m At.”
Every syllable sounds care-fully placed on this album. Regarding lyrics, Henderson explains, “I don’t like to place words into songs haphazardly. I only write them down if they are very interesting to me or resonate in some significant way.”
Almost every track on the CD has soothing background vocals that sound like a child hum-ming the chorus. These vocals create a childlike innocence that is reminiscent of nursery rhymes, especially when mum-bling dum-du-dum-dums or na-na-nas can be heard faintly accompanying the song.
Although Henderson is the only musician on the record, TaughtMe’s live show employs the aid of two other equally minimalist musicians—Andy Poulson on drums and Adam Peterson on bass. As a three-piece act, the band provides the same intensity and exuber-ance in front of an audience that you get listening to the CD in your car. When the crowd holds its breath with each hit of the kick drum and bass while Henderson emotionally cries out “Where we found you,” it proves that TaughtMe is not just incredible behind a mixer, but also as a band that can make an entire crowd drop its collective jaw.
Currently, TaughtMe is mak-ing jaws drop across the United States, on a five-week tour. Henderson quit his job at eBay to push Arms as Traps. But luckily the band hasn’t left its home-town for good. TaughtMe will be back in Salt Lake City at Kilby Court on Friday, Nov. 18.