Telek, Serious Tam

Chris Nickson

By Chris Nickson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Deliciously catchy Polynesian pop

George Telek is a little bit country, a little bit folk, and a whole lot Papua New Guinea, the biggest musical sensation to come from the islands. This disc — the first from PNG to be released in the northern hemisphere — brings together his influences, from the three-part harmonies and log drums of his native tradition (with their eerie echoes of country and folk, as on "To Pol") to rock, Nashville and a touch of electronica. It's all deliciously accessible and quite catchy — Telek knows how to write Polynesian pop with a twist (listen to the country-fried "Paska") and let a hook build, which he does beautifully on the pidgin "Boystown" and "Talaigu," a song his wrote for his first band. But he can also adeptly reference the older music of his homeland, and he does it on "Barturana (Duke Of York)" — which sounds eerily like Canned Heat's "Goin 'Up The Country" — or the drum-and-voice driven "Tolili Kundu." Telek offers some very serious Tam.