Alright, let’s get one thing out of the way: if you can open up this Bandcamp page and not immediately be wowed by this cover art then I don’t know what to tell you. Even more beautifully, the album at hand more than lives up to the promise inherent in its cover. TAUK have been making rock/jazz fusion for five years now, splicing their sound with plenty of funk and groove. The result screams retro-futuristic science fiction in the way that artists like Jamiroquai and Squarepusher have been doing for a while; redolent synth tones, lush bass and big, big drums all blend together to paint a picture of a future, whether out in space or here on earth, filled with bright spiritualism and, most importantly, ruled by the all mighty groove. Head on down below for a taste and be prepared to dance.
It was really hard to choose just one track from this album but “Convoy” made me laugh the first time I heard so I went with it. It made me laugh with joy because its main hook is just so, so big and the synth tones are so over the top. It’s a true delight, especially because, even inside these grandiose sounds, TAUK never forget to embellish everything with a danceable and relatable structure. Sure, things fall apart, controllably, near the middle, bass and drums flailing in all directions with barely pent-up energy as the rest of the instruments fill the spaces in between with plenty of notes. But later on, the guitar takes over with smooth lines and the outro revisits the main hook of the first passages, with clever cymbal work, to create a segment so groovy that you can’t resist it.
And the most beautiful is that the entire album is held to these standards; usually, with fusion efforts like these, things start to get repetitive as the band lean on classic beats and ideas from jazz and rock. But here, originality is overflowing and every track on the album has something unique to say. It all coalesces around the common denominator of funky, evocative music but it does so in so many ways; “Not Your Nemesis” is a more chiller/expansive track while “CMF 9000” is a weird, frenetic romp through hectic bass, off-kilter guitars and sleek synths. It all comes together to create one of the more immediately enjoyable and danceable albums we’ve heard in a while. Give in to the funk; spin TAUK. We’ll see you in the future.
(P.S. TAUK, if you’re reading this, for the love of god and all that’s good, please make that cover art available as a t-shirt. I will purchase it with money if you do.)