Someone once said that comparisons are a journalists best friend. If that is the case then take The Flaming Lips circa their album 'Here It Is', add a touch of Modest Mouse and just a hint of Stephen Malkmus from his Pavement days and you have Tapes 'n Tapes.
I was already of fan of their often blogged about first album 'The Loon' and I was glad to see that Tapes 'n Tapes are a fan of the mantra "If it ain't broke, don't fix it.". 'Walk it off' is a great second album and it continues to develop the bands sound as they travel all over the musical map. Not wanting to be pigeonholed into any one sound, the band goes from shoegaze to country to blues to indie to almost punk in the 45 minute plus length of the CD.
The opening track 'Le Ruse' kicks off the album with an upbeat "drinking at the pub" vibe. Then songs like 'Lines' and 'Anvil' slow it down and elude to an almost bittersweet sorrow that is inside Josh Grier , the lead singer. As much as you wish he didn't feel so bad, you can't help but enjoy his pain when he makes such heartfelt music. Tracks like 'Say Something Back' and 'Demon Apple' have the rhythm and vocal cadence that made me think David Byrne could have been in the band's CD player when they made the album. When I was listening to the Pixies-esque track 'Conquest', I couldn't help think that the song was dreamily calling me back to better days. There is truly a little something here for everyone.
I really like that fact that Tapes 'n Tapes use their quivering vocals, gentle keyboard, often insane drums and effects-heavy guitars (I swear I heard a xylophone in there somewhere too) to full effect. It really gives the album as a whole a richer and fuller sound. This is also helped by the fact that the album was produced by David Fridmann at Tarbox Road Studio in Cassadaga, New York instead of by their bassist in their basement like the last album (Not that there is anything wrong with that!). The album sounds better for it and amazingly still manages to keep that lo-fi sound that is Tapes 'n Tapes.
'Walk it off' is one of the most natural and endearing release I have heard this year. I expect good things from Tapes 'n Tapes in the future.
8 out of 10