Release Date: Apr 4, 2006
Record label: Ibid / XL
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Ignore the hype. Forget comparisons with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Arcade Fire and numerous other new bands on the fast-track to glory thanks to self-released, self-promoted debut albums. Because American newcomers Tapes 'n Tapes don't sound like escapees from a bedroom sweatshop. They sound like fully formed heroes.
At first, Tapes 'n Tapes' much buzzed-about debut album, The Loon, plays like a CliffsNotes of indie rock, serving up the shouty, snotty sound of early Modest Mouse ("Just Drums"), Pavement's laid-back angles and historically astute lyrics ("The Iliad"), and the surreal strumminess of Come on Pilgrim-era Pixies ("Cowbell"). But just because Tapes 'n Tapes broadcast their influences so clearly throughout The Loon doesn't make it a bad album. Actually, the built-in familiarity of their sound is kind of comforting, particularly on pleasantly meandering pop songs like "Buckle" and "Jakov's Suite," and "Manitoba," a woozy ballad that recalls the Walkmen at their prettiest (and tipsiest).
It's a story to warm the hearts of wannabe rockers still incubating dreams in their parents' garages: The Minneapolis quartet Tapes 'n Tapes recorded and released their debut, The Loon, on their own steam last fall and had record labels knocking within a week. Fast-forward less than a year later, and you've got an "it" band with a headlining tour under its belt and a record re-released on a real, live label. The Loon is an exercise in heavy-lidded ballsiness, from the herky-jerk spazz attack of opening track "Just Drums" to the bluesy, mostly instrumental smashup of "Crazy Eights." Singer Josh Grier pairs punky delivery with saucy lines like, "I've been a better lover with your mother" ("Cowbell"), while an euphonium blurts out the rhythm.