Rhythm & Views

Tara Novick

It's hard not to compare singer-songwriter Tara Novick to Chris Isaak. Novick's close-cropped dark hair and chiseled good looks contain more than a hint of resemblance to Isaak, and a penchant for dreamy, twangy odes to love come and long gone suggest that the pieces of his shattered heart might be found in Isaak's back yard.

In particular, the restless, looming breakup and neo-surf chords of "She's Not You" and the please-come-back acoustic folk of "Say You Don't Love Me" could pass for outtakes from Isaak's classic Forever Blue. One could do worse than earn such a comparison, however, and Novick's in no sense a copyist.

From the gentle country rock of "Austin Nights" to the '50s-styled pop balladry of "Tomorrow" to the subtle rockabilly-inflected "You Might Be The One," Novick and his band (instrumentation includes organ, fiddle and pedal steel) deliver the palate-pleasing goods.

Sometimes the taste might sting a tad; the latter-mentioned tune is a biting kiss-off to "the only one / Who ever crucified me." But it all goes down just fine.

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