Tapes ‘n Tapes – Outside [Album Review]

by Woody on January 19, 2011

Courtesy of the blogosphere, Tapes n’ Tapes shot to relevance with their 2006 self-released debut, The Loon. The album was quirky and everything you read was blah, blah, Pixies and blah, blah, Pavement. If we had a blog back then, we’d probably have written the same thing.

Well that album got Tapes ‘n Tapes a nice ol’ deal with XL Records. Hooray! Indie band makes it. Can’t wait for the 2nd album with a proper budget and proper producer. And that’s where the story took a turn for the worse. Walk It Off was the textbook definition of sophomore slump. Gone were the hooks. Gone was the quirkiness. It really didn’t seem like they were having much fun.

Fast forward to today and Tapes ‘n Tapes are no longer with XL Records. They are back to releasing their own albums and they’re back to making good music again. Admittedly, I was ready to dismiss Outside when it landed in the inbox but I watched the video for “Freak Out” below and felt like I owed them a chance.

I am not ready to say Outside is as good The Loon, an album I listened to incessantly when it was released, but it has plenty of very good moments. Badaboom, Freak Out and Saddest Of All Keys are all excellent songs, but my favorite track is Desert Plane. The opening hook sounds like a Weezer riff from the mid 90′s and Josh Grier alternates between singing and barking his vocals. It comes together real nice.

There are a couple of hiccups along the way, but the big hooks are back, the quirkiness is back and they sound like they’re having fun again. The blogosphere can be a fickle. Today’s filet mignon can be tomorrow’s dog food, but I hope everybody gives these guys another crack. Tapes ‘N Tapes have put out a very good album that gets more enjoyable with every listen.

Tapes ‘N Tapes – Freak Out

Video: Tapes ‘N Tapes – Freak Out

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt Bialer January 20, 2011 at 11:34 am

Nice review. A favorite band of mine. I happen to think WALK IT OFF (second record) was really good and suffered more from everyone wanting to make dog food out of them. I think the new one is really good. Maybe 2 or 3 songs I am unsure about but a really solid , interesting record that gets even better with repeated listenings…..which I think is pretty rare these days. A lot of people accuse them of knocking off other bands. I think they have their own sound and the influences of the some cornerstone bands are there but people come out with daggers about that and baffles me. There are plenty of bands who get blogger love who sound like other bands. Anyway, if people liked The Loon they will like this. Their sound has more power now but I like that.

Lauren Helen January 21, 2011 at 1:34 pm

“A lot of people accuse them of knocking off other bands. I think they have their own sound and the influences of the some cornerstone bands are there but people come out with daggers about that and baffles me. There are plenty of bands who get blogger love who sound like other bands.”
Well put, Matt :) I agree wholeheartedly.

Fantastic band, though! I’ll be listening to more of them :)

Matt Bialer January 21, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Thanks Lauren!

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