“TV Dinner” is Mike Trask’s 10th studio album (his first on vinyl). Several years in the making, and delayed further by the pandemic, the album showcases Trask’s multiple skills, as he recorded and performed nearly every instrument himself, on tape, at his recording studio MRC. The album’s artistic competence comes in balancing the deeply melodic with the daringly complex. Right off the bat, it seems that one is going to love Trask’s incredible artistic talent and his ability to wear many hats, as well as his purist stance on music quality. “TV Dinner” is a highly refined, rich synthesis of his artistic vision as a whole. It is a natural progression of all that Mike Trask has been doing up to this point, and it caps off all of his work rather nicely.
The album “TV Dinner”, represents all of the facets of Mike Trask’s musical journey, from the keen ear for melody, to the strong taste for adventurous musical endeavors, while never forgetting his dense narratives.
“TV Dinner” succeeds in the superlative partly because of how richly it takes the already profound aesthetic singularity of Trask’s work and explodes it outward. There is no room for genre labeling here, as Trask crosses between styles and flavors, the common denominator being the organic instrumentation and the warm analog sounds.
If we wanted to sonically point the album in any direction, it would be due to the strong rock and Americana elements infused into these soundscapes. At times there are echoes of 70’s progressive rock, and at others, overt singer-songwriter tendencies.
In between, anything can happen…and it does. Country, blues, acoustic, psychedelic and classic rock are just some of the noticeable elements. The juxtaposition of the varied instrumental palette is the singularity around which these tracks are built.
It is not just the songs themselves that’s a masterclass in songwriting and playing, but “TV Dinner” is also a profound testament to Mike Trask’s ability to create a thoroughly cohesive album experience out of songs that aren’t connected by sound or narrative.
More than a “TV Dinner” this is a full five-course meal – wide in scope, textured by conventional instruments, harmonic musical adornments and captivating melodies. Most of which are missing in the bulk of today’s musical productions.
Free of the artistic expectations that might come with label obligations, Mike Trask weaves his way between the synth sounds of “Yellow Sky”, to the catchy Indie-Rock motifs of “My My, Bye Bye”, and the call-and-response vocals of Julie Aubé and Katrine Noël of Les Hay Babies on the tender “Melted Wax”. Big, heavy guitars are noticeable on the gritty “Bad News”, while “All Digital” keeps the momentum of the rhythm banging.
Mike Trask’s soulful vocals and lyrics tug at the heartstrings in the beautifully but simply orchestrated “Marshmellow Moon”. The shimmering, echoing guitars, and the resonating vocals are also transported to “Train Song”, making it another melodic standout. These refreshing qualities continue on the title track “TV Dinner”, and “Hazel Jones”, where all of Trask’s storytelling qualities surface straight to the top.
Putting his love and mastery of the studio to good work, all throughout this album, Mike Trask proves that he continues to consistently have plenty to offer those who are willing to immerse themselves into his multi-textured, multi-genre, psychedelic musical world. He has expanded his creativity onto a full- fledged, 11 track musical vision that knows no bounds.