TAPES ‘N TAPES – The Loon (XL)

Tapes ‘n Tapes hail from Minneapois, and have produced an album that belies its true indie status. Recorded on a shoestring budget by the four piece band, they have come up with a collection of songs which seem to get better and better on each hearing. Taking their inspiration from such off the wall indie pioneers as Pixies, Wire and Pavement, they create songs which really shouldn’t work but which do, and so this album a joy to listen to. Right from the hesitant guitar opening and cracked vocals of ‘Just Drums’ the sound just screams indie, and the band are not ashamed of it. ‘The Iliad’ has an unusual popping sound behind the intro that I can’t quite put my finger on, but by the time you have heard the whole album you will realise that it is the sort of thing to expect from the band. ‘Insistor’ pinches the Shadows guitar sound as the basis for a storming piece of Paisley Underground Americana, and despite being an instrumental ‘Crazy Eights’ has Pixies stamped all over it. ‘In Houston’ is the band’s take on the traditional ballad, which in their hands comes across as something Pavement would be proud of, especially when the band suddenly up the ante for a punkish finish. ‘Cowbell’ twists and turns for a decidedly quirky pop song, and ‘Ten Gallon Ascot’ does the quiet/loud thing as well as anyone. ‘Buckle’ harks back to the Elephant 6 Collective bands of the late 90’s, and it is nice to hear that style of music again. ‘Jakov’s Suite’ gives Mogwai a run for their money on the lengthy instrumental opening, and while it might seem that the band are just pastiching their favourite groups, they are really using them as a springboard for their own quirky and inventive songs. Oddly enough, the one thing that I can’t hear on here is tapes – and there was me thinking the band were an electro-dance outfit. Don’t be fooled by the name – Tapes ‘n Tapes are another great guitar band who have come from nowhere and delivered an outstanding debut album.