Today, we are excited to share with you the debut album from Tamar Berk, titled The Restless Dreams of Youth.
It’s a record that has been a lifetime in the making, and chronicles the journey of adulthood, confronting the burning questions we long to answer, and resolving to find peace in the absence of clarity.
Berk got her start in Chicago, where she was a member of the same scene that Liz Phair found her footing in. She released albums with Kill Rock Stars, and built momentum as the front woman of several power pop acts. Life took her out West, and she stayed active in Portland, eventually landing in San Diego where she works as a teacher.
As many songwriters will attest, it’s a burning gift that stays with you your whole life, and Berk resolved to use the downtime she was afforded during the pandemic to craft a record of her very own.
The end result is a dynamic collection of 12 songs that range from sunny power pop to moody shoegaze, showing off her knack for infectious hooks.
Standouts like Shadow Clues and Better Off Meditating are drastically different songs, but are pulled into the same universe by Berk’s distinct and powerful voice. One is a slow-burn song that builds over an acoustic guitar riff before erupting into reverb-drenched bliss, while the other is pure candy-coated hooks, with a gleeful piano slide introducing the peppy chorus.
There are hushed, intimate moments, like the stripped-down Cleveland, and ambitious arrangements, like the ballad Til’ I’ve Won, layering in piano and dense back-up vocals. Red Ball sounds like it could be a ’90s radio hit.
About the album, Berk reveals, “I was an incredibly restless child. I was always dreaming, I couldn’t 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 almost more 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. “The restless dreams of youth” turned into a sort of love letter to myself. It was a very emotional journey and I realized that I’m still uneasy, and unsure and I might never be at peace with myself..and that’s okay.”
It’s an impressive debut from an accomplished musician. The album was recorded mostly on her own, with drum tracks recorded remotely by her old friend Matt Walker (Morrissey, Garbage, Smashing Pumpkins), now an acclaimed musician in his own right (she’s in good company!).
Tamar Berk has made an outstanding debut in a difficult time, and she’s an artist we’re keen to hear more from.
Keep up with Tamar Berk