Josh Taerk: Stages

review done taerk x1 cong

Taerk (pronounced Turk) looks and sounds like a refugee from Top Of The Pops in the 80s, up there with people like Nik Kershaw and Howard Jones — singer/songwriters far better at writing tunes then looking hip.

We’d not heard of him, but you can tell he’s one those “big in their own country” acts, by the quality of the songwriting and production.

Taerk is a singer/songwriter from Toronto. Max Weinberg, drummer with Bruce Springsteen and The E-Street Band, said he is “the most exciting new talent I have come across in years”. Taerk has short hair on his website and looks cooler; maybe he’s trying to crack the Springsteen fanbase by looking Boss-ish.

Taerk’s music has the steady country beat that suits driving long and straight roads in the US and Canada but it’s firmly in the pop camp, confidently played and well arranged. There’s nothing Taerk does that’s unique — even his voice is mid-range — but he does it well, and there’s some nice guitar.

Standout track is possibly After The Fall, mid-way through, the opening line “You came in like summer / So sweet and so warm” over acoustic guitar the song, before it builds up to be a mid-tempo balled. Obviously, the girl has gone, the fall being a pun that works better for Americans.

Jekyll Or Hyde seems to reference Dire Straits’ Romeo and Juliet with its “grew up like brothers / on the same side of the street / both hungry both running what they wanna be” (Dire Straits had: “Come up on different streets, they both were streets of shame / Both dirty, both mean, yes, and the dream was just the same”). Obviously one of Taerk’s boys does good, one goes bad.

Too interesting to be middle of the road but definitely not demanding, our only complaint is its length — five tracks? Come on, Mr T.

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