Indie-pop singer-songwriter Tamar Berk unveils her brand-new album, Start at the End, following on the heels of last year’s The Restless Dreams of Youth.
Tamar grew up playing piano, followed by writing songs on her guitar in her teens. Later, she put together a power-pop band called Starball, trailed by playing in the electro-punk duo Countdown. Then she played in Deep Joy and Sweet Heat. Moving to Portland, she was the keyboardist for Pynnacles, followed by her band called Paradise, which dropped three albums.
Relocating to San Diego, she released The Restless Dreams of Youth, “a sort of love letter to myself.”
Tamar explained to the San Diego Reader, “I was an incredibly restless child. I was always dreaming, and I could never sit still. I always wanted what others had and had a deep emptiness that I couldn’t really understand. I thought when I grew up, those feelings would disappear or at least change, and I could find some peace within myself. But now, I’m just as restless, and when I look back at my life and where I am now, I still feel a deep emptiness and struggle with accepting myself.”
On Start at the End, Tamar continues her introspection, trying to come to terms with, and find her place, in the world. Replete with an all-star lineup, the album features the talents of Matt Walker on drums, Sean O’Keefe, Matt Thomson (bass), Chris Davies (guitar), Rob Wrong (guitar), Chris Marstellar (guitar), and Allen Hunter (bass).
Tamar provides vocals, guitar, bass, Wurlitzer, strings, synth, harpsichord, organ, and percussion.
Encompassing a baker’s dozen of tracks, the album begins with “Your Permission,” a contagious pop tune reminiscent of The Beatles. Entry points include “Tragic Ending,” which conjures up suggestions of Liz Phair with its slightly dark flavors and Tamar’s expressive voice.
Rife with tangs of country pop, “Alone Tonight” rolls out on delicious washes of alluring colors, while “Sweet Relief,” another twang-laced tune travels on creamy layers of southern country rock-lite. The drawling guitars on this track, bluesy and crying, imbue the music with tasty accents. For some reason, “Sweet Relief” recalls The Allman Brothers Band.
“Real Bad Day,” a hi-octane power-pop song, pumps out potent waves of propelling momentum as Tamar’s vocals imbue the lyrics with passionate dynamism. The last track, “This Is Me Trying,” starts off on low, gleaming colors and slowly builds into a retro-flavored alternative tune brimming with compelling leitmotifs.
Tamar Berk has it going on! Start at the End is superb, full of infectious rhythms, plush textures, and the crème de la crème vocals of Tamar Berk.