Back to site

Album Reviews

The Rock Pit - "Teak" Album Review


Steve Draper-Vocals & Guitars
Aaron Ninness-Lead Guitar & Vocals
Mark Gubiani-Bass
Greg Szymanski-Drums

Teak are a indie/rock band from Melbourne who have been on the scene since 2008 and with over 350 shows under there belt, the fruits of all that hard work are here in there self titled 11 track debut cd . This time the cd’s opening track has that melodic rock sound fussed with 90’s brit pop which to some might seem a little dated, but surprisingly it has a very fresh sound that I would call radio friendly.

‘Something Blue’ the second track is heavily influenced by the foo fighters, but don’t be fooled, this a very good song with a great riff. The next few songs follow much in the same vein as the others, then we come to the song ‘Message’ which for me, is the best track on the cd, it rolls along like a steam train with a great hook and vocals. ‘Drunk & Obscene’ is the slowest track, but still a fine tune with a great guitar lead halfway through. ‘Can't Understand’ is another fine track that has that feel good factor and would make a great opening track at any live gig, I’m sure that this will be a great crowd pleaser.

Teak is a very good debut cd from a fine band, they know of their strength’s and they play to them very well. If bands like the foo fighters/ Simple Minds and Elbow are your kind of music then this is a must cd for you!

Paul Hadlington

4½ / 5 Stars


NeuFutur Magazine. Feature & Album Review

We here at NeuFutur do not get many Australian bands sending us material for coverage; despite possessing millions upon millions of citizens, this continent seems to be particularly barren when it comes to bands that possess the fire to become something bigger than mainstays at their local bar or venue.
However, we received material from TEAK, a band from down under, and were stunned at their fresh yet familiar approach to rock music. TEAK is comprised of two vocalists – Steve (guitars) and Aaron (lead guitar), drums (Greg) and bass (Mark). Despite only being around a short time (as bands go), TEAK possesses a maturity to their sound that few extant bands do. With shifting styles, sounds, and approaches present on each of their compositions, it is not surprising that fans will be just as eagerly anticipating later album tracks just as they did when they first put the band’s disc into their players.
While TEAK comes out with their own unique approach to rock, they possess enough skill and ability to provide something to anyone that is lucky enough to listen. Greg’s drums, for example do not merely keep time – they resound loudly and punctuate each track in exciting ways. Where the bass in many bands gets mixed into oblivion, Mark’s mastery of the four-stringed beast creates a fullness that is rarely heard in current rock music. The vocals on their self-titled disc take on a panoply of tempos and influences, touching upon Silverchair, The Beatles, and even Lollipop as the band continues to make a name for themselves.
Keep an eye out for these guys, as I have no doubt in my mind that they will make it to American shores, whether it be through the radio waves or on a nationwide tour. Just to hear a track like “Drunk & Obscene” or “Binders & Grinders” will show exactly what I mean; the intricate arrangements, passionate singing, and the interplay between the two sides of the band will be more than enough to make a believer out of a listener.
To purchase their latest disc, meander over to or to the iTunes store and pick up a copy. If you are in Australia (or will be in the next few months), check out TEAK live on April 16th at the Village Green Hotel in Mulgrave. For their online presence, give a whirl.

TEAK – TEAK (CD) / 2011 Self / 11 Tracks / /

“This Time” is the first track on TEAK’s new album, and it immediately provides listeners with a blend of alternative and rock influences. The instrumental arrangements during this track defy traditional time signatures, in that they are able to convey both slower and faster tempos. What results with this introductory track is something that allows listeners to continually wonder where the band will go with subsequent tracks. “Something Blue”, TEAK’s next effort, is a much more energetic track.
The interaction between guitars and drums here pushes the momentum of the cut ever faster, while the vocals match the instrumental side note for note. “Looking For You” is an early hit for TEAK, as it ties together the different approaches and stylistic decisions made during the first two tracks into a cogent track. Hints of Oasis, Goo Goo Dolls, and even Rusted Root can be heard in “Looking For You”, while the chorus will be something that sticks with listeners long after the track has ended. “Loaded” is the longest track on this self-titled album, and it represents a considerable challenge for TEAK. The track itself will impress with splashy drums, soulful crooning, and intricate guitar work that plays in between.
The mastering of “Loaded” merits further explanation; TEAK is able to hold listeners for nearly six minutes through minor shifts and changes in the track’s overall tenor. Where many bands are more than content just placing forgettable songs toward the end of their albums, TEAK ramps things up nicely with the second half of this album. Key of these songs would have to be “Endless Voice”, a song that will absolutely clobber listeners with smart repetition and a slightly more heavy sound than had been present during the first tracks. “Can’t Understand” showcases the same sort of energy, providing fans with an assurance that future releases will be more of the same high caliber. While the band may liken themselves to acts like the Foo Fighters and Nickelback, I contend that they represent a blueprint for modern rock acts that will undoubtedly be followed by bands that follow TEAK. Check out their CD at the linked sites, and tell us what you think.
Top Tracks: This Time, Looking For You
Rating: 8.6/10


Artist: Teak
Album: Teak
Review by Zack Daggy

Teak sounds like a band that should be headlining the Billboard charts. They are a triple threat of vocals, music, and production value. Their self-titled album is an explosion of auditory alternative rock goodness. This isn’t your one-hit-wonder type of band; they are the real deal.

Vocally, Teak sounds like a blend between Smash Mouth front man Steve Harwell and R.E.M. icon Michael Stipe. It’s the type of rock voice that can hold a melody while still exuding an attitude. With the song “Something Blue,” attitude is crucial, and Teak lead-singer Steve Draper passes this test with flying colors. This song works in a large part due to the vocals. It’s the same case with other tracks like “Loaded,” where the mesmerizing vocals draw you in. The song itself is extraordinarily melodic and Draper’s voice fits the vibe perfectly, as he is able to convey everything from soft-spoken power to soaring expression. “Drunk & Obscene” is another excellent example of this. At times the vocals are moody and slow, while at others they are powerful and energetic. The guy is amazing to listen to.

The music of Teak is in the vein of such bands as the Foo Fighters, Finger Eleven, R.E.M. and at times Green Day, ranging from melodic to heavy rock. Some tracks like “This Time” seem to fully embrace the alternative rock styles of the 90’s, while tracks like “Drunk & Obscene” take on a modern flair in the style of Saliva. The one thing that every track has in common is memorable hooks. Teak knows how to reel in the listener with incredibly catchy songs. The music is catchy, but not in an ear candy sort of way. There is a rich depth to the sound. That same depth can be heard on “St. Cajetan,” which features a melody that is substantially different from all the rest. It’s more of a folk song than a rock song, and the vibe is about holding a reserved power. It’s a major change from the commanding wall of sound heard in their other tracks and proves how versatile Teak is. It should also be mentioned that the guitar on every track off this album is extraordinarily impressive. “In The Morning” features an incredible guitar solo that is simply mind-blowing. It’s too bad that it’s so short, as this song could have really benefited from a longer guitar solo.

The production quality of this album is nearly perfect. It’s difficult to pick a single from this album, because every track could easily dominate the charts if it were given the opportunity. The only thing that’s holding the production quality back from reaching full perfection is that, in some of the tracks, like “Endless Voice” and “Message,” the music becomes so overpowering that it’s difficult to concentrate on the lyrics. These tracks are still thoroughly enjoyable to listen to, but perhaps if they had been brought down a notch they could have been something more. Like the old adage says, “Less is more.”

Teak’s self-titled album is full of amazing alternative rock vibes, captivating attitude-driven vocals and extraordinary production. This is the type of album where every track is just as spectacular as the next. If you are tired of hearing teenagers with bad haircuts on the radio all the time, then give Teak a listen. Your ears will thank you.

Review by Zack Daggy
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)


Billboard Discoveries
TEAK, “Teak”
Melbourne, Australia-based quartet Teak may be an indie rock outfit, but its 11-track self-titled album, released in November 2010, ably meshes esoteric lyrics and memorable melodies with its guitar-infused signature. It’s no surprise that the band’s output has been tagged “thinking man’s rock.” Album opener “This Time,” guided by vocalist/lyricist Steve Draper, has already garnered airplay at home on radio and online, with its smart hand-holding bid for trust: “Lift off your burden, I can help you open your heart and tell me all your secrets.” And there’s plenty more where that came from: Edgy chant-along “Something Blue” and Elvis Costello-meets-38 Special’s “Message” are so catchy that they’re begging for breakout status, while pop/rock “Looking for You” makes a bid for universality with its waiting-in-vain message, a la, “I never knew the time when it was over, the way I burnt the kindness from your heart… I won’t waste another day.” Teak also delivers a couple haunting nuggets, with contemplative “St. Cajetan” and album highlight “Drunk & Obscene,” featuring emotive guitar work from Aaron Ninness, in which Draper wags a finger, saying, “Where have you been and who have you seen/Did you look in his eyes, tell him all of those lies you’ve been telling me?” Among many high points of “Teak” is how organically accomplished the band sounds—not too many bells and whistles, just good, solid instrumentation, fine vocals and arrangements packed full and creative without being nit-picky and overtly busy, as can sometimes be the case with unsigned bands. Teak knows its strengths and plays to every one. Now it’s time for them to do the same for a national, if not global audience.


Only Australian Music
They have managed to produce an album loaded with catchy tunes, accomplished musicianship and outstanding vocals.
From the opening song “This Time” to the closer, “St. Cajetan” it’s a guidebook for how to make a radio friendly album without compromising any of the heart and soul of a rock band.
Expertly produced by Warren Hammond of Penny Drop Studios, the album has a fresh, vibrant feel to it with the drums sounding particularly crisp and “up front” for want of a better term.
A lot of time has been spent perfecting this album, and it shows. Teak have given us all a wonderful album to enjoy and one which they can be justifiably proud of.
A few of the highlights are “This Time”, the albums opener and definite harbinger tells the listener where Teak are coming from and what to expect. The reworked version of “Looking For You” has a melancholic feel that the original version didn’t quite nail this well. “Drunk & Obscene” struck a chord in me from long ago, ’nuff said. “Loaded” has a wonderful expressive vocal. “Binders & Grinders” is a great ballad and worthy showcase of the bands dexterity. “Can’t Understand” would make a great second single.
Without wanting to take anything away from the other band members, drummer Greg Szymanski and vocalist Steve Draper really shine with outstanding performances from both.
Teak are at present a little known band who have produced a world class album which should see them earning some major attention.
This is the first album I have given 5 stars. The reason is that this is an album that will appeal to a wide audience, the genre is not specific, there are songs your mother will love and songs for the young and rebellious. To my ears, it’s perfect.


Artist: Teak
Album: Teak
Review by Alexa Spieler

On their self-titled debut album, Teak skirts the fate of being just another typical rock band and captivates with catchy melodies and insightful ‘thinking’ music. All of this is combined with a splash of modern day soft rock to boot. The Melbourne-based band has been receiving attention at live venues since 2008 with Steven Draper at the helm as vocalist and lyricist, Aaron Ninness on lead guitar, Mark Gubiani on bass, and Greg Szymanski on drums.

Starting Teak a high point is the melodic acoustic track "Binders & Grinders." A solid backbone from the drum beat keeps the track grooving and moving and Draper's vocals overpower the tranquility of the track with pure passion. The tune achieves a nicely flowing, constant groove as the guitar line manages to keep a consistently relaxed tone. Unexpectedly, the builds as it progresses with the addition of a string section and harmony vocals. "Binders & Grinders" is the perfect track to set the tone for Teak.

The second song, “Can’t Understand,” epitomizes modern rock as it starts off in full force. As soon as Szymanski hits the snare drum at the outset, listeners know they’re in for quite the rock treat. Draper's raspy vocals rule as Gubinai's bass line keeps the band tight and driving. Ninness' guitar line is heavy and choppy in a modern day rock manner. In the midst of it all, harmonies kick in and Draper's vocals only increase in strong emotion. The song hits a full on climax with the electric guitar solo in near the middle of the song, exploding into full overdrive. "Can't Understand" is 1970’s Pink Floyd meets modern day 30 Seconds to Mars, and is an exceptional track.

Throughout Teak, there is a constant array of rock styles, and "Endless Voice" is a prime meeting of their diverse influences. Leaning towards the 70’s punk side, it is dark and moody. The electric guitar line evokes The Ramones and Pink Floyd, and the vocals are rapturous. As the piece unfolds, it grows, evolving from the punk-vibe into rock/funk. The guitar line is pure fun, especially towards the middle, and the drums accompany with an energetic backbeat. "Something Blue" continues the intensity an upbeat, heavy guitar line. The drum fill expertly sets things into motion and carries the energy through the length of the song until it gracefully dims out at the end. Teak wraps up with "This Time,” a perfect blend of funk with modern day rock that serves as a fitting final statement of the band’s core sound.

On this self-titled debut, Teak easily accomplishes the tough task of exploring a variety of styles and genre while successfully establishing their signature sound. Teak has the remarkable ability to mix genres and styles and make them work, and this is a prime reason why their music will easily appeal to a wide audience. The rebellious youth will sing along while their parents will be jam out as well. Teak knows their strengths and they use them to their best advantage on Teak.

Review by Alexa Spieler
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)