Hearing Aide: TAUK’s ‘Collisions’

a3443292892_10Long before TAUK‘s 2012 performance at Bonnaroo or the 2013 release of their first full studio album, Homunculus, they were just a group of friends growing up on Long Island. Bassist Charlie Dolan and guitarist Matt Jalbert jammed out in the basement in middle school until, one day early in the new millennium, they decided it was time to make a band. Schoolmate Alric “A.C.” Carter joined soon after on the keyboards/organ—“we were Space Coyote back then,” he recalls—and the group has gone through a few drummers before finding Isaac Teel. Now, TAUK is furiously touring the country in preparation of the July 22nd release of their second album, Collisions.

The first track, “Friction”, is a wavy five-minute jam featuring layers of tones and intricate timing that Jalbert says “gives a little taste of everything else that we’re doing.” The number packs a harder punch with fuller layers than the tunes on their freshman album, allowing the band to show off a more complete sound. While the intricate timing and elegant composition are both still there, the band’s personality shines through more. Strong Asian and Middle Eastern influences mix with TAUK’s signature dark, progressive style in “Friction”. The song runs smoothly into the other tracks, with the whole album having a fluid feel.

“The songs on Homunculus were a little more packed in terms of composition,” says Jalbert, “whereas the songs on Collisions allow room for the band to shine.” The album features the perfect blend of measured precision and evocative experimentation for the listener’s imagination to comfortably wander without getting stranded.

The fourth track, “On Guard”, starts off with a calm melody that conjures images of a pleasant afternoon on an Asian river boat. Then the layers start piling up and, with delightfully querulous keys and a heavy bass line, TAUK has us poking around a desolate alien soundscape, slightly uneasy yet fully engrossed. The track is somehow wavily linear, impossible not to get excited about, and will have listeners nodding along in impressed contemplation.

“Tumbler”, number seven on Collisions, is another big hitter. The piece, which is based on a bass line Dolan wrote, begins with an ominous bell tolling and ends with intense shredding. Carter and Jalbert feed off each other, exuding powerfully emotional parts. Like a few songs on Collisions, Jalbert strays away from his more deliberate, plucky style and lets loose; finely articulated notes turn into emotional wails as the jam evolves. The song has a heavy feel that can be found throughout the album.

“The Drop” has some fantastic time changes and, when you hear the drop, you will be drawn toward the repeat button. “Collateral”, the last ride on Collisions, is agreeably all over the place, particularly hard rocking, and allows all four band members to go out with a bang. The tune features the energy and cohesion the band brings to both the studio and stage.

With momentum behind the Long Island quartet, they will be throwing a hometown Collisions launch party at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn on July 19th. The album, due out on July 22nd, will give fans a lot to talk about.

Key Tracks: Friction, On Guard, Collateral

If you’re interested in preordering the album, click here.