I feel kind of sad that I didn’t get to this last year; I didn’t start heavily adding new music until later in the year; Something To Feel was released the day I turned forty, almost a year ago.

I’m glad I came back around to this one though: Teeks – real name Te Karehana Gardiner-Toi – hails from the winterless north, growing up in the Hokianga, before moving to Auckland where he studied music and taught te reo Māori.

Musically, he sits firmly in the soul genre, his smooth, lower-register vocal both soulful and utterly delightful. Teeks sounds great on opener “Just For Tonight”, but I really fell in love with his work during second track “Waves” – simple picking on acoustic guitar as his mournful vocal runneth over, before a perfectly timed horn crescendo shifts the song into a full accompaniment of drums, bass, and the rest.

“These Hands” moves the album more toward pop-funk (Anderson.Paak and Bruno Mars, eat your heart out). “Without You” is another gorgeously sparse track, vocal over single piano; the video, shot in and around Hokianga, is gorgeous as well.

The album shifts between soul and pop-funk from there. “Here Before” is another highlight, another exercise in minimalism that shows this album really crackles when it relies most heavily on Teeks’ incredible voice. Late album track “Powers” is another highlight, piano and drum and that gorgeous vocal.

I loved this album. In fact, I’ll say this: if I’d listened to it in 2021, it may have been my favourite of the year.

CLTM (Chris Listens To Music) is my attempt to listen to a new album every day; you can follow my efforts on Instagram here (and send recommendations), and if you like what I’m doing, support my efforts by shouting me a cuppa at Buy Me A Coffee.