Josh Taerk

Beautiful Tragedy

(Misty Creek Records)

Josh Taerk is a Canadian singer-songwriter and this is his first album since his Here’s To Change set three years back. He has co-produced this collection with Teddy Morgan, utilising facilities in Nashville and Toronto. Others have likened the results to Harry Styles and Kings Of Leon, but surely it cannot be that bad? One has to hope not. So…will this be your thing? Better press PLAY…

First cut and title track Beautiful Tragedy does indeed have that back-in-the-mix KOL guitar drone, but the vocal is upfront and well-recorded. The lyric is hand-wringing and romance-based. If anything, this sounds like The Killers. His voice here benefits from a comfortable key and the backing chorale sounds radio-friendly. A very professional sound indeed but for me, pretty generic rock-pop.

Anywhere Love Took Us has more of a swagger in the tempo, the words very looking-back country style with an emphatic arrangement guitar-centred and crisp. The kind of stuff Eric Church does so well. A guitar break at @ 1:52 isn’t long enough, more of a fill before the bridge. The number is quite catchy. At a stretch this might appeal to fans of Bryan Adams. On to Neverland which is more reflective, with Chris Isaak guitar and a lyric of wishful melodicism. One suspects the influence of Richard Marx, the king of this style of songwriting. Midnight Mustang takes a chugging tempo and sounds like a set-starter with a tinge of Mellencamp-meets-Killers. It’s a useful change of pace in the programme.

After The Fall has a feathery acoustic guitar bed and florid set of words over a well-worn chordal progression. Beautifully sung, for this mode, it must be said. Beauty Queen could be from a Grease style musical. Like he’s going to push a beauty queen away ?! Jekyll Or Hyde sounds eerie as it commences, an intriguing tale and very easily my favourite inclusion here, the e-bowed guitar through delay floating above the core sound. Not sure about the falsetto response vocal but this one sure knocks up an atmosphere that stays with the listener. Matters conclude with Learning To Let Go a folky but insistent consideration of a point reached. Quite poetic but avoiding the syrupy.

I don’t think this set is aimed at the likes of me, but a strong female following seems on the cards. He probably already has one. Professional popular songsmithery of a mainstream nature but with some imaginative production touches here and there that lift the impact and bode well for the future.

Pete Sargeant


(Thanks to the Republic crew)

Josh Taerk's new album 'Beautiful Tragedy' is released on Thursday 13th September 2018 on Misty Creek Records.

For more information visit his official website here: