Written by: Jen Dan
San Diego-located singer-songwriter Tamar Berk (Starball, The Pynnacles) recently released her debut album, The Restless Dreams of Youth, an engaging self-produced record from a veteran of the ‘90s indie music scene in Chicago.
Recorded almost entirely on her own during the early days of the pandemic, the full length shows off Berk’s songwriting abilities in a wide range of styles. She tackles intimate acoustic ballads, candy-coated power pop, and sassy punk-pop.
Describing the meaning behind the album, Berk explains that it’s, “a sort of love letter to myself.”
The 12-song LP holds a lifetime of experiences, and confronts the reality that those questions that we had in our teens may never be answered by our adult selves, and that we have to find our peace within this uncertainty.
There’s an assured quality across these dozen songs, as well as a comforting warmth.
Tracks like “Outdated” and “Til I’ve Won” show that Berk can take a simple guitar riff and turn it into a widescreen arrangement, and singles like “Shadow Clues” and “Better Off Meditating” spotlight her enduring ability to craft a radio-worthy hook.
Berk’s time in Chicago and Portland shows, and she invokes legends from both those cities, channeling Liz Phair and Elliott Smith equally, but imbuing her tunes with a style all her own.
In an alternate universe, Tamar Berk would be a household name. With The Restless Dreams of Youth she makes a compelling case for herself as one of most underrated talents in the U.S.