1/16/2007 - Review by: Kim Thore
TK-421 (T K IV II I) - Disengaged - 2005 - indy
Overall the tracks on "Disengaged" are more mature, but they still haven't lost their long hair, black eyeliner and bring your own lighter feel. The cd starts off with a bang, literally, as the first three tracks are all about stadium rock swagger but just like any concert, the show gets better when the band begins to truly find their groove and settles into the show no longer trying to impress the audience as quickly as possible, but instead letting the songs mapquest their own direction. "Bed of Stone" is a bon-jovi-esque ballad that transcends the usual fodder by showcasing lead singer, Chuck Johnson's, lyrical gymnastics and vocal gift; but what it truly serves is as a fork in the road for the mood of the cd to change and strut out songs that transcend your usual hard rock fodder. A classic example is track number 8 (if you want to head straight for the foreplay, skip to that track first and enjoy the rest afterwards with a cigarette and a drink) entitled “Open My Eyes”. Languid in its structure, TK421 has managed to do in this one song what some bands miss for a lifetime. Lyrically it’s as close to Lord Byron as Rock and Roll is going to get and musically it highlights the collective talents of each member individually and with a steady purpose. The song seems to be taking you and the band where it both should be and in a word that place appears to be euphoria. “Saved” and “Rebel” cap off the cd with a harder feel but without losing depth--the band knows not to go too deep; you can still expect a gut wrenching guitar solo from Troy and the marriage between Steve and Bill is rock solid. While Bill favors triplets and quads and can execute them flawlessly, he knows when to stay in the pocket and is at his best when he is probably feeling like he is holding back. Layne’s bass is a thunderous reminder that when a bass player finds a groove, staying there and exploring all of the differing levels can be quite satisfying. It’s crunchy, thick, juicy and succulent...just like you ordered. Unfortunately, there are a few occasions when Winemiller’s talents get buried a bit in the production, but when his guitar solos are given the spotlight, the feel is melodic, passionate and lingering. He knows how to play with warmth and doesn’t fill with needless arpeggios and wailing scales, but instead gives a steady aural backdrop to every song.
All the great music in the world does not a song make and this is where Chuck Johnson enters center stage. Vocally, his range is broad and impressive. He can conjure up Ralph Stanley or a pre-blonde highlighted Coverdale but what he can truly be counted on for is delivery on a dime. Lyrically, his turn of a phrase makes you feel just like he may have, when he first penned the lyrics and in that accomplishment Johnson is in a very small class by himself. Sometimes you may not want to go where he’s emotionally been but he’ll take you there anyway and the vocal "land of oz" you find yourself in is a rich and vibrant tapestry. So, follow the wizard--behind the curtain is a great rock band.
8/5/2006 - Review by: Frank Hill
TK-421 (T K IV II I) - Disengaged - 2005 - indy
TK-421 has made themselves one of the best bands touring the Southwest Virginia area, working up through the ladder of local players for the last 7 years with a live show that lashes out with the charismatic punch born from their roots as a tribute band of 80s hair metal. Within the crowd's favorite older anthems, the band sneaks in songs from their full-length CD "Disengaged" which largely consists of modern guitar grooves underlying vocal melodies that focus on the grays and troubles of adult relationships. These are heavily explored in popular rock but TK-421 goes a notch above standard commercial rock with writing that is metaphoric, yet mature and above conventional male-female platitudes.
Harmonies from lead vocalist, Chuck Johnson (Chris Cornell's long-lost cousin?), excel on numbers like the touching "Bed of Stone", "Disengaged" and "Take Away"--the bastard child of Breaking Benjamin and Godsmack. "Open My Eyes" sees the band stretch out into more progressive stylings which I found rounded out the CD well after the first seven songs. The production is about mid-level, expected for being self-done, with the guitar bite of the live show more subdued. Given the subject matter, it's bark is loud enough.
The major irony of the titled CD is that "Disengaged" is very engaging to listen to on any gender level. Within the riffs and catchy hooks is the genuineness of emotion that is sorely lacking in most cookie-cutter corporate bands. If TK-421 can push and expand out their grooves, they will move up in the ranks of the U.S. rock field much to the consternation of some of their legion of loyal local fans.
Bottom Line: A rock band on its own that's outgrowing it's home base and is ready to fly its flag in more places.
Chuck Johnson - Lead Vocals, Guitar
Troy Winemiller - Guitar
Steve Layne - Bass
Bill Schlueter - Drums
Disengaged CD - $10
Order Info: CD Baby (http://cdbaby.com/found?allsearch=tk-421&allsearchsubmit=Search)
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