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The Tesky Brothers: The Winding Way

Record Review

The Tesky Brothers: The Winding Way


Ivy League




Eric J Dubowski


Josh Tesky

Vocals, rhythm guitar


Sam Tesky

Brendon Love (past)

Bass guitar

Lead Guitar

Liam Gough (past)


CYFI Grading Scale: Buy It, Stream It, Forget It:

Stream It

In today’s world of streaming music services we don’t need music critics to tell us whether or not an album is worth our time and money. Nor do we need radio stations to play the song for us we have not yet fired. Realizing this about radio my goal for my show has been to present good music to the listener they may not have heard and to do so in a way that makes it entertaining for them to hear. Likewise, I see my role as an aspiring music writer as being one who introduces music to readers they may not be familiar with and to do so in a way that might enlighten them as to whether or not they would enjoy it.

This is why I’ve chosen the The Winding Way latest release from Melbourne, Australia’s Teskey Brothers as the next new release to write about. So while is a review of their latest album I’ll also provide a brief history of the band as well as an overview of their previous recorded work available to the listening public.

Today the Teskey brothers consist of just that; brothers Josh Teskey on vocals and rhythm guitar and Sam Teske on lead guitar. However, they came together in Melbourne in 2008 as a four piece band that included Drummer Liam Gough and bassist Brendon Love. Their sound is very much that of the neo-soul that has become so popular in recent years. Many comparisons of their sound have been made to Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding and that would be because of Josh Teske’s powerful and soulful voice which deserves comparison to both of those great singers, particularly Reading. The first I heard of the Teskey Brothers was when “Let Me Let You Down” from their second LP, Run Home Slow, popped up on my streaming service and I was immediately captivated by Josh Teskey’s voice.

The Winding Way is the brother’s third studio LP and the first in four years. There were two live albums between Winding Way and the band’s second and prior studio LP Run Home Slow. All the tracks on Winding Way are original with the exception of a cover of The Zombies “This Will Be Our Year” (Chris White, songwriter). And to their credit the vast majority of the songs on the Teskey’s first two studio LPs are also originals with writer’s credits going to all four members. Aside from the change in personnel the other most significant change in Winding Road versus their prior studio albums was a change of producer from Paul Butler, to American Eric J Dubowski who produced Winding Way.
I find the neo-soul genre interesting as a whole. I liken the genre’s performers to tribute bands who instead of performing the work of a single artist compose and perform music in homage to a specific music, from a specific time, that came largely from a specific part of this country. And so while Josh Teskey is deserving of the Otis Redding comparisons there is a distinct difference between the originator and the emulator. Redding’s voice grabs you and drags you further into it as the song goes on and deeper into the song on each subsequent hearing. Teskey’s singing, on the other hand, is something like the sound of a furnace when it kicks on and holds your attention for a period of time before you acclimate to the sound and it drifts to the background of your consciousness. Now I by no means intend this analogy as a slight to Josh Teskey for he has a formidable voice. After all, there are a few things as welcome or comforting as a warm home on a cold winter’s day. It’s simply Teskey’s fortune and misfortune to possess a voice that invites comparison to Pickett or Redding.

There’s nothing new or earthshaking here. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Teskeys are revivalists playing writing and playing music similar to that of 50 to 60 years ago. However, it is a timeless music they have chosen to emulate and you’ll find their music much more agreeable then if they had chosen to perform 60s psychedelia, 70s disco or 80s big hair music. And of the neo-soul bands out there I think the Teskeys are one of the best. Only the Black Pumas may have done a better job of finding a unique and new sound within an old genre. But apparently it’s not an easy thing to do as the Pumas made three albums out of the same nine songs performed in the same order and promptly vanished.

I found the songs on Winding Way quite similar to one another with the possible exception of tracks five and seven; “Carry Me Home” and “Blind Without You” respectively. Those seem to be the only two songs with much switch up in tempo or instrumentation and doesn’t employee strings and horns.

I have nothing against strings and horns, quite the opposite. I’m just not sure they’re necessary on as many of the songs on which they appear. Overall I found the songs on Run Home Slow stronger of greater variety and with more inventive instrumentation. I’m not sure if it was the presence of the former band members in the creative process, the difference in the producers or both. This appears to be one of Dubowski’s first outings as producer, his background as an engineer being much more extensive. Perhaps his strength still lies more in artfully capturing music than helping to create it.

There’s certainly no better way to break down an album than to sit undistracted with headphones, pen and paper at the ready. And there’s also no better a measure of how engaging a record can be than to see how well it holds your attention while driving and I found myself having to consciously bring myself back to the music while listening to this album in the car. Whereas Run Home Slow seems a definite step forward from their first studio LP with Winding Way the Teske’s may have stepped laterally. The Teskey’s earlier work sold and charted very high in the Teskey’s native Australia and garnered them more than a few Australian music awards. It will be interesting to see how well this album fares compared to its predecessors. All that said, their overall body of work is well worth your time and bandwidth. Again, if on the strength of Josh Teskey’s voice if nothing else they’re probably among the best of the neo-soul bands out there.

Carry Me Home
Let Me Let You Down
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