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CD REVIEW: DENIZ TEK – Mean Old Twister

| 29 March 2017 | Reply

CD REVIEW: DENIZ TEK – Mean Old Twister
Citadel Records
September 2016
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Deniz Tek, U.S.-born architect of the classic Radio Birdman sound, relentlessly continues to release new material, never less than engaging and interesting.

This album, recorded in Montana and Hawaii as a trio with bassist Bob Brown and drummer Ric Parnell, features handful of special guests (Ron Sanchez, Parker Brown, Steve Brown, Joe Sheehan, Erik Olson and John Roberts), and was mixed at the legendary Alberts Studio in Sydney by Birdman colleague Rob Younger and Wayne Connolly.

From the garage blast of opener Burned Black, through the Iggy-ish sax-solo-featuring Somewhere, to the Birdman-esque supercharged garage blues of Crossroads, Tek’s vocals are laconic at best, rather than charismatic: this is music for fans of cool music, not image.

Table For One moves Tek’s garage roots to the background in favour of a more rootsy Americana sound; on Comanche he brings the Wild West guitar twang of Marty Robbins; before Prison Mouse goes back to a more Birdman-like theme.

New York Confidential (the only co-write on the album, written in collaboration with Younger) features some smoking blues licks and an evocative urban chorus; and then Cranbrook is different again – a faint aroma of The Doors over a reflective tune that sparkles and shines.

They Can’t Take This Away is another Iggy-like number, or at least, the sort of thing that we’d love to hear Iggy doing. Who knows – Tek & James Williamson release a new EP in March, putting him one degree of separation away from The Stooges singer, and he guested with them for a special show in 2011, so anything is possible, right?

Free At Last changes the mood yet again – just an acoustic guitar over bongos, and the reflective question – free from what, exactly?, before Death By Text finishes the album with an organ-drenched rocker that’s pure Tek.

As with all Tek’s albums, Mean Old Twister is an artist’s record which deserves repeated listens to fully immerse into, rather like soaking into a hot bath. Fans of Iggy, The Stooges and of course Radio Birdman, will find plenty to like here, but Tek’s art is never constrained by those boundaries alone.

Category: CD Reviews

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