A little over a year ago I was introduced to Turk Tresize and his unique blend of soul, blues, rock and roots . His debut album Soul Casino was at the time the most diverse independent album I’d ever been given for review and still remains one of them today. You can read my review and listen to some tracks on it here. I was excited to be asked to review his soon to be released second album If It Is To Be as I was curious if Turk would decide to change things up.
Change things up he did. Right off the bat, opening track Cold Honey is one of, if not the most intense and badass tracks Turk Tresize has in his repertoire. There are other great rock tunes on the album, including some like Shanruksi and Car Park which incorporate a great deal of soul, whether it be in the vocals like on the former or with the instrumentation like on the latter, but no moment on If It Is To Be gets quite as in your face as Cold Honey. Whole Lotta Crazy is the only other song that gets almost as in your face, but it lacks the intensity.
I’m always a sucker for the blues, and I’m a fan of how Turk takes a blues hand to his playing and writing style but incorporates other elements. Lipso is an example of how his band can have blues credibility while playing a fast paced song that also brings in soulful backup singing and rock chops. Hail Hail also has some soul to it, but it has the heart of a blues song while Abita has a blues heart with a bit of a country sound. The title track to If It Is To Be is the best blend of blues and soul that Turk Tresize has to offer, further diversifying the albums style.
Turk Tresize seems to want to be remembered more for his slower songs, of which If It Is To Be has a bumper crops worth. Among ones that haven’t been mentioned yet are the light hearted 101 and the acoustic Sweet Monica, which has some light piano to it, which are great to listen to, but it’s songs like the folk rocky Gravy Train and the electric Too Much that really stand out and show some great song writing capability by Turk Tresize. With all of these slow longs, it comes to no surprise that closing track Flight Plan is mostly a piano driven slow track that turns into a Neil Young-esque folk rock song.
If It Is To Be is just about as diverse as Soul Casino was a year ago, but in a more subtle way. I feel it would take a critic like me to notice how diverse If It Is To Be is, while it was all out there for anyone to hear on Soul Casino. One thing is for sure is that Turk Tresize saved some of his best stuff for this album. With his song writing clearly improving and most tracks standing out quite well, Turk has proven to be an artist worth following.
“Gravy Train” – The reality is that about half, to more than half of If It Is To Be is made up of slower songs, be them slow folk songs with limited instruments or full band displays, so I choose what I think is the best of the diverse range of slower tracks Turk Tresize presents on the album. That song is Gravy Train. It is emotional, full of instruments and damn is it ever catchy and surely the song that I think best represents an album with as many different styles as If It Is To Be has.
Based on his YouTube videos, Turk sounds incredible live. Here is a live video of Gravy Train for you.
8 (Out of 10)
|1||Cold Honey||Turk Tresize||2:44|
|2||Just You||Turk Tresize||3:36|
|3||Whole Lotta Crazy||Turk Tresize||3:49|
|7||Gravy Train||Turk Tresize||5:23|
|8||Car Park||Turk Tresize||3:04|
|9||Too Much||Turk Tresize||3:59|
|10||Hail, Hail||Turk Tresize||3:53|
|12||Sweet Monica||Turk Tresize||2:50|
|13||I’m Sure That It’s You||Turk Tresize||6:20|
|14||ExplicitFlight Plan||Turk Tresize||4:06|
|15||The Game (Bonus Track)||Turk Tresize||4:20|