Review – “honky/tinker” – Jared Klok

coverreviewed by Michael Thomas

You can almost hear the emptiness of honky/tinker, the solo album from Jared Klok. That isn’t a way of saying that there’s something missing—rather, Klok accurately captures the sound of his home of Alberta, which the album is meant to be a tribute to. The prairies are known for their long, endless stretches, and one must imagine that they’re often very quiet places.

As a member of All the Wiles, Klok’s pieces stood out as being especially roots-oriented, and Klok continues with that sound on honky/tinker. He even has some Wiles band members to help him out, including Billy and Jake Nicoll (the latter also co-produced, recorded and mixed the album) and Katie Baggs.

The album’s first two tracks are almost like fake-outs, beginning the collection with slightly more upbeat numbers. “A Little Bit Broke” is a clever lap-steel-and-guitar number that equates the concept of brokenness in both inanimate objects and people. At first it seems like Klok is talking solely of motor vehicles, but later he adds this pair of lines: “Everyone I know is just a little bit busted/Full of potential or potentially rusted.” La Poderosa, Mi Moto,” an ode to a motorcycle, is almost as tender as a love song and has Klok sounding particularly like Shane Ghostkeeper.

Klok hits a high note early on with “Of the Sea,” the longest song on the album and a song especially characterized by the sparse instrumentation. You can almost feel and hear the rush of the sea on a breezy day as the piano comes in, and then later guitar and strings. “Favourite Colours” continues the anguished tone, this time with a slightly denser sound.

“Lay of the Land” is another particularly powerful song, and goes well with “The Horse Thief and the Hang Tree,” which comes across as a western ballad. The album starts off jovially just as it started, with “Scrape on By,” apparently recorded as a jam with every contributing band member, and the fuller sound and huge chorus of voices, particularly during the a cappella ending, dispels the illusion that Klok is but one solitary man.

The digital version of the album also features two bonus tracks, the swinging “For the Birds,” which will make anyone hungry just listening to it, and the more melodic “Said a Summer Breeze.”

Top Tracks: “Of the Sea”; “Lay of the Land”; “Scrape on By”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)

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