Taskers, The Taskers or TASKRZ. It doesn’t matter what you choose to call them, Jack Tasker, Sophie Bret Tasker, Laura Ellement and Rob Haubus are four parts of a very important and highly prolific local band.
TASKRZ (as they now like to be known) is a name you’ll have probably have heard quite a lot, either through this blog or by dipping your toe into the Staffordshire and Cheshire music scene. With five years of making and releasing records behind them and several lineup changes later, a new version of TASKRZ is now ready to join the party.
Just before dropping brand new material, Jack Tasker and Sophie Bret Tasker released their version of ‘Seasons’ by Chris Cornell, a moving tribute to a lifelong inspiration and icon. It was a truly touching rendition filled to the brim with sadness and emotion, but there was something in the music that made me think that this was merely the calm before the storm. And I wasn’t wrong.
‘Heart The Bleeds’ and ‘Baby Keep Walking’ are the first glimpses of the new TASKRZ and what they have to offer. They’re not strikingly different from anything they’ve released previously, except that this version of the band is far more sure of itself and its sound, than ever before.
‘Heart That Bleeds’, the title track, is reminiscent of that of their earlier work, although only in the most subtle of ways. Built around the powerful and emotive lyrics of the chorus, written by SBT and sung by her too, the rest of the song falls easily into place. The screeching of Jack Tasker’s guitar, the sound that has come to define their sound so well, pierces through the introduction and remains a prominent feature throughout.
There’s something rather heartbreaking about ‘Heart That Bleeds’ that’s hard to pinpoint, both lyrically and musically, however it’s something that comes into its own in the final moments of the track. If there’s anything that TASKRZ are good at, it’s creating poignant finales to songs and ‘Heart That Bleeds’ is no exception. All of the major elements of the track begin to fade away, one by one, until all that’s left is a lone electric guitar playing out against an empty reverberating backdrop.
Following behind is ‘Baby Keep Walking’, a cleaner cut, straight up rock ‘n’ roll song – no frills, just thrills. That screeching guitar of Jack Tasker’s that stands ten feet tall in ‘Heart That Bleeds’ remains, snaking its way through the track, growling impatiently like an uncontrolable beast that can’t be contained.
But the thing that’s been making everybody talk is the addition of local music celebrity and friend of the band Nixon Tate (without his Honey Club). It is, for those who know TASKRZ well, a collaboration that’s been a long time coming, with Tate regularly joining the band onstage to perform their version of ‘All Along The Watchtower’. But ‘Baby Keep Walking’ is all theirs and the addition of Nixon Tate only adds fuel to the raging TASKRZ fire.
Never before have TASKRZ sounded so comfortable as a band and so confident with the music they’re making. As mad and as wonderfully complex as ‘Wolf Party’, their last full length release, was, ‘Heart The Bleeds/Baby Keep Walking’ is a welcome return to a band who have returned to solid ground. No gimmicks, no flashing lights, no smoke machines and no beating about the bush. TASKRZ are back and you better believe it.