Rural Iowa native Jamie Berkes moved to Chicago in 1998 to pursue a career in medicine, a career he practices to this very day. He loves his career and has a great life. However, his first love was always music and in 2019 he decided that he’d spend his downtime focusing on pursuit of this love. Despite playing no instruments, Jamie was determined and found himself a mentor in Chicago producer and musician Antony Ablan. With Ablan’s help he learned how to play and, further, learned how to construct music that blended many of the decades of influences that had been absorbed into his very soul.
While a perfect tag or genre label for Berkes’s music isn’t readily available, it’s fair to say that his influences are strongly leaning into the indie rock, new wave, and alternative worlds. Fans of Joy Division, The Pixies, Vampire Weekend, The Cure, shoegaze, noise pop, and a variety of other bands and genres that play with these blends of style are sure to find Berkes’s current project, Killed by the Architects, an aurally pleasing experience.
Released in early July, the self-titled Killed by the Architects album is 14 tracks of brooding, melancholy, groovy alt-rock tunes ranging from infectious toe-tappers to slower, more oppressive mood pieces. Berkes may only have jumped into the musical pool less than two years ago, but he went straight for the deep end – performing all vocals, guitar work, bass lines, synthesizers, keyboards, and programmed drums on the album.
While each song is unique there’s an overall tone and feel for the album that unifies all of the tracks, as if a variety of complimentary flavors that comprise one cohesive and satisfying meal. “Change” (above) is one of the the standout tracks for this particular reviewer – with its emotive, harder edged moments and contemplative lyrics really exemplifying the sound Berkes is cultivating at its best.