American rock and roll guitarist Deniz Tek, most famously known for founding Australian cult influencers Radio Birdman, returns this year with a vinyl re-issue of his 1992 album ‘Take It To The Vertical’, released through Wild Honey Records. This was his first solo release after his time with Radio Birdman.

The result was, and remains, a fine, lead-guitar driven record which delights in its garage roots, throwing up bluesy moments interspersed with rockabilly and more traditional rock sounds, still with that punk veneer that Radio Birdman had been harnessing from the mid-70s. Now, nearly 30 years after its original release, ‘Take It To The Vertical’ still beams with boundless energy, making it a joy to listen to.

Aside from the liveliness of the record, one other notable thing about this album is how smooth it sounds. From the numerous guitar hooks to the time changes, every song appears almost effortless. ‘Dead If Looks Could Kill’, for example, is full of clever changes – one minute sounding like a streetwise strut, the next being interspersed with delicate, flowing piano.

The album is bold and strong throughout. Driving rockers such as ‘Run Out Of Water’, ‘Don’t Axe Me’ and ‘Is It Good Enough’ keep the momentum going, whereas the rockabilly of ‘Where Dreams Go’, the blues of ‘Me & Gene’ and ‘Steel Beach’, and the pop hooks of ‘Those Times Are Gone’, demonstrate the range of Tek’s creativity and ability.

Having spent a long time out of print, many fans will be happy to get their hands on Tek’s first solo album, and now with added liner notes and never seen before photos. ‘Take It To The Vertical’ is one in a series of archival re-releases from Deniz Tek.


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Author: Craggy Collyde