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What Gives

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Album Review

The record industry is in constant crisis and facing a multitude of problems for one very easy to fix reason: arrogant A & R men have often failed to pick up talent in a timely fashion. Matt Turk's What Gives is a smart, professional, highly palatable collection of frosty pop tunes that fall out of his pen effortlessly, enunciated by a voice so AM/FM friendly there is no question the world would be a better place with his material rocking the airwaves. You Are The One" opens things up with a slow-paced pop blues feeling sort of like "Like A Rolling Stone" gone Triple A radio. "Bette Says" might be a subliminal tribute to Lou Reed with his "Lisa Says"/ "Caroline Says" episodes - and don't forget Lou married a Bettye. It's got a solid rockbeat with reggae-tinged guitar that could've fit nicely on Reed's Sally Can't Dance phase, following a Robert Johnson-style acoustic "Hobo Boy". Turk plays with diverse elements

and a glimpse at his bio on shows where and how those vibes came into his music, Matt's affiliation with Pete Seeger as well as his previous group, The Hour, opening for The Dave Matthews Band - history that brings different colours to this palette. It works by being so well balanced, the singer not shying away from using anything and everyting in his aresnal, doing so -for the most part - tastefully. This is power pop embraced by artists like Richard X. Heyman, the concise statement we all feel in "Wish List": pop music sprinkled with Russ Irwin's keyboards and very pronounced production from Kevin Hupp. As an artist in the same vein, Pat Burtis, got too graphic with the sexual imagery in his "Breakfast In Bed", both songwriters may have lost out on having hits with the tunes in question by not employing that wonderful old poet's friend - innuendo. "Wish List" is too good a song to lose to frivolity and should get a re-write. But for those who have a problem with the vocals of a Bruce Springsteen or Bob Dylan, Matt Turk has a smooth tone that complements his playing and that's a major strength. The shifting of mood and styles is also a plus, "Stranger" a total change of pace which adds a dimension to the cd missing from the work of many mainstream artists. Then "History's Gripping" explodes from the speakers, another short burst of power pop. With production just complex enough to give the record depth as well as an edge, What Gives, like Aimee Mann's similarly titled Whatever from a decade ago, is a huge musical statement by an artist to be reckoned with. It says a lot with eleven songs that hover around the three minute mark.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Singer/songwriter Matt Turk was a student of Pete Seeger and has performed with Fiona Apple, Jeff Buckley, Blues Traveler, and Dave Matthews Band, among others. His self-titled...
Full Bio
What Gives, Matt Turk
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