Originally from Cleveland and now based in San Diego, singer-songwriter Tamar Berk’s latest long player, Tiny Injuries, displays the evolution of Berk’s sound out of the realm of ’90s-laced alt-rock into an array of sonic styles, simultaneously more developed and complex.
The album’s title refers to all the little emotional wounds we collect traveling through life. The accumulation of hurts is a self-sustaining process. The first accretion is slow but increases over time and according to direction. Cumulatively, they exhaust our energy, destroy our patience, restrict our scope of creativity, ruin our pleasure, and leave us fragile and desiccated.
As Berk explains, “And it’s not about ‘poor me.’ Everyone internalizes these injuries, and none of them are ‘tiny.’”
Rather than succumbing to the aggregate effects of the tiny injuries, akin to a death by a thousand paper cuts, Berk catharizes herself through her music.
Made up of a dozen tracks, entry points on Tiny Injuries include “if u know, u know,” a blend of alt-rock and electro-pop riding atop a contagious rhythm as Berk struts her deliciously breathy voice, marginally reminiscent of Liz Phair.
“sunday driving,” a personal favorite, reveals two things: first, the pop-rock surfaces of a Go-Go’s-like charmer and, second, Berk’s affinity for upbeat melodies. She’s at her best when rocking it out – her voice floats above the heavier guitars, providing a sweet contrast.
Colored with bright, swanky horns, “permanent vacation” conjures up similarities to Liz Phair amalgamated with Sheryl Crow, with beaucoup radiant vocal harmonies. While, for some reason, “cash out” summons up memories of Christina Perri, only more resonant and vibrant.
Another favorite, “drop in the bucket,” a wide-open rocker, features thick guitars and especially taut percussion that gives the rhythm a skintight cadence that makes the song work. Once again, Berk’s opulent vocals are highlighted by the muscular harmonics.
Two other tracks, “1997” and “walking hurricane,” stand out. The former is because of its gleaming, textured layers, whereas the latter song, flavored with hints of pop-punk, along with a retro, tinny organ, bristles with bouncy momentum.
Tamar Berk comes into her own on Tiny Injuries, an album exposing unvarnished emotions and a multiplicity of stylistic elements.
Tiny Injuries Track Listing:
1. if u know, u know
2. sunday driving
3. what’s become of me, my friend
4. permanent vacation
5. cash out
6. drop in the bucket
8. walking hurricane
9. i was saved by the beauty in the world
10. gonna call it
11. ‘til u get home
12. if i could fix one thing
Run Time: 39:27
Release Date: August 18, 2023
Record Label: Independent