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Tapes 'n Tapes Walk It Off Review

Album. Released 2008.  

BBC Review

Walk It Off? More like sleep it off...

Jessica Braham 2008

The newest offering by Tapes 'n Tapes, the off-centre foursome from Minneapolis, offers little except slight concern that your speakers might be on the way out. But don't rush down to Dixons just yet. Second albums are never easy, but it's difficult to believe that Walk It Off is by the same band who released the innovative, abstract, and gritty debut album, The Loon in 2005. The need to double check becomes overwhelming. Laurel resting after such an enviable start was acceptable up to the point of the re-release of the album in 2006 by its current label XL Recordings. But maybe the bar was set too high. With Dave Fridmann, the bassist of Mercury Rev - who previously worked with Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah! and Mogwai - producing it should have been in the bag. Unfortunately that's just what it sounds like.

With the all-consuming, anxious wails of vocalist Josh Grier, with on-the-edge drum beats and loose, mismatched insanity; Tapes 'n Tapes were the obvious heirs of Pavement and the Pixies. Charismatic, with retro gutter appeal, the band's allure seemed irresistible. On Walk It Off there are still moments of pure pleasure but you only get one bite of the apple rather than the whole fruit. It starts badly: The first two tracks passing so forgettably it's hard to know if the album did actually start. What's On TV tonight? Then, gasping for breath, Hang Them All unapologetically blasts through with the spirit of previous work unleashed, and a chill runs down the spine, triggered by dark urges and unholy organ noise. Demon Apple demonstrates a new level of prowess in the band, with lingering, desperate chaos, giving the feeling you've lost your head or been transported back to a '60s love-in as a drug addled Jim Morrison writhes on stage. Ending on an up note, the last track, The Dirty Dirty, throws out another lifeline with messy continuous beats that will resound long after after the noise has gone.

But it's too little, too late. Take from this album what you can, Walk It Off? More like sleep it off...

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