Tama Taiti: Reflection
By Shaun Chait
Tama Taita's bluesy guitar licks are mostly heard ringing out of the Dunedin pub scene. This album is the fine-tuned, finished product of the one he made to satisfy requirements of an Otago Uni music paper. Since then it's been touched up a bit and mixed/mastered by Dale Cotton for distribution by Elite Imports. By and large the 10 tracks fit into one of two categories - dirty sounding blues rock ditties (Crusin', Keep On Rockin', Mind Grind) or more downbeat, cleaner blues numbers with lots of soloing (Loser At Love, So Lonely, Thinkin' 'bout Chu Blues). I much prefer the latter, which not only showcase Taita's greatest talent but are also better compositions. He doesn't have the strongest voice, but that imperfection and rawness make it an eager bedfellow to the music. That allows this CD to be quite passable, in fact probably a minor triumph considering the factors governing the making of it. He could have trimmed back the two seven minute-plus tracks, although one of those (Hear My Call) is well worth a listen as Taita juxtaposes acoustic blues folk with the unaccompanied soprano-like vocals of guest Holly Mathieson.