Artist Spotlight

Review: TAUK, “Homunculus”

No Comments 8 August 2013

Review: TAUK, “Homunculus”

“It wouldn’t make much sense to lump TAUK in with the numerous jamband acts out there when there’s something deeper and more mystical going on.”

Artist: TAUK

Album: Homunculus

Genre: Progressive Rock / Jazz Fusion / Instrumentals

RIYL: King Crimson, Return To Forever

TAUK Homunculus

Although it would be easy to slot the band TAUK into that dreaded jamband category, that would be grossly unfair and unwise. TAUK sound very little like some Grateful Dead or Phish wannabes, and prove that point by creating a colorful palette of sounds that draw from Jazz Fusion, Progressive Rock and Alternative Rock.

There’s a clear love of great Progressive Rock and Fusion on display here, but TAUK manage to avoid incessant noodling (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and boring the hell out of people. What is especially intriguing about this band is how excellent the musicianship is and that they are able to craft songs even though the pieces are all instrumental. Each song has a distinctive verse and chorus.

Fans of legendary acts such as King Crimson and Return To Forever would do well to check out the music of TAUK. There’s an 80s-era Crimson influence in the awesome opener “Dead Signal” which has a driving guitar riff as well as some funkier, almost New Wave-ish elements. The arrangements are well-thought out avoiding pretensions and self-indulgence. Although instrumental music isn’t for everyone, the music created by TAUK goes a fairly long way towards universal appeal which is not an easy task in this genre.

The avoidance of overly-complicated arrangements is key here as TAUK let the sonics and the instrumentation do the, ahem tauking (get it?). Other highlights include the mellow vibes of “Dirty Mouth” (which sports a truly excellent guitar solo by guitarist Matt Jalbert); the sublimely funky, powerful and 70s synths-laced “The Chemist;” and the slow-building gem “Carpentino’s Birth.” Jalbert’s guitar work throughout the album is fantastic - he has a good tone and sense of dynamics as well as when and where to insert his dazzling solos that never veer into boredom.

“Afro-Tonic” is a melodic, jazzy number with a good mix of snappy guitar riffs and open notes as well as some gritty, fuzzy distorted electric piano tones and keyboard sounds. After a while, the listener can get so locked in the groove, it’s easy to forget that the song is an instrumental. The same can be said for “Hello Narwhal” - which has some elements of the great Fusion era of Jeff Beck - along with “The Spot” and “Curtain Call,” where the latter achieves a great vibe and features some tasty drum accents and synths.

It wouldn’t make much sense to lump TAUK in with the numerous jamband acts out there when there’s something deeper and more mystical going on. The late 70s Fusion/Prog spirit would appeal to a wider audience. A band that springs to mind of the same spirit would be the UK’s great Ozric Tentacles who had some amazing albums and a bit of a following in the UK, U.S. and Europe in the 1990s.

It’s also worth noting that keyboardist Alric “A.C.” Carter, drummer Isaac Teel and bassist Charlie Dolan are all top-notch and this truly feels like a band of guys connected to what they are doing and believe in musically. TAUK can also be proud that there isn’t one weak spot on Homunculus. Right to the closing cut, “In The Basement Of The Alamo,” these guys are simply on. So, for fans of serious musicians playing and writing well with subtlety, TAUK is a band that must be heard. Seriously good stuff here, folks.

 


TAUK website: http://www.taukband.com/

 

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