Tapes 'n Tapes - The Loon

Depending on what music related websites you read other than CD Times (there's others??) then you may already know about Tapes 'n Tapes and their almost Monkey-esque rise to internet stardom. Their inception was way back in 2003 but it wasn't until the middle of last year did they record their first album proper, "The Loon", which sold 10,000 copies in the US all boxed and shipped from the bedroom of the band members. This kind of success makes A&R people salivate wildly, so a deal with XL Recordings has allowed a full release of this album on our side of the pond and a wave of publicity that saw them sell out nine gigs in four days at this years SXSW festival in Texas.

So we now get a chance to listen to the record in full and it bares certainly similarities to other Pitchfork hyped bands like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and The Arcade Fire, the former especially. But where CYHSY had the yelping vocals that put more people off than they converted, here things are a little more sedate. Tapes 'n Tapes have seemingly taken the great American bands of the last 20 years and tried to distil all the best bits into one madly oscillating beast. We've got hints of The Pixies, Pavement and Talking Heads and there may even be a hint of The Eagles on "10 Gallon Ascots" if I'm not mistaken... There's also a great sense of humour here. On "Cowbell" we're treated to the amusing and rather odd "I've been a better lover with your mother", which hints at all kinds of wrongness.

They're at their most successful when the influences are stripped back and infused with their own ideas and voice like on "Manitoba" which begins as a gentle ditty and harks to pure Americana, not dissimilar to Band Of Horses, before it reaches a crescendo of drums and synths at it's conclusion. Then there's "Just Drums" with it's jaunty angular guitars which may have been Gang Of Four if they'd taken more happy pills and fuzzed vocals that make it sound like you're at the best house party you've ever been to. But they also have a tender side, "Omaha" is a beautiful oddity of a love song; gentle acoustic guitars and shuffling drumming that hints at a more emotional level they could reach if they wanted.

With tracks like "Buckle" however it's just copybook indie-guitar music that's ok but nothing fresh and feels very one paced and lead footed. "The Illiad" just sounds like a demo that managed to sneak it's way onto the full record; half-arsed and a little irritating. This is when Tapes 'n Tapes take their eye of the ball and sound every inch of the basement band that they are.

Apart from these misplaced moments though, there's plenty to enjoy here; lots of hooks and sing-a-long moments that should keep most indie kids happy for 40 minutes. The question now for Tapes 'n Tapes is where do they go next? Making an album as mixed as this is fresh initially but what's the next step, where can they visit next time around? Let's just hope they can build on this promising debut and not disappear into the black hole of hyped one-hit-wonder bands.

Overall

7

out of 10

Last updated: 19/04/2018 04:53:32

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