Release Date: Apr 8, 2008
Record label: Beggars XL
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
On Walk It Off, Tapes 'n Tapes' first album for XL, the band trades the energy of The Loon for a more polished, cohesive sound, but it's hard to say that they got the better end of the deal. The Loon was often scattered, but appealingly so -- it sounded like what it was, a pile of tapes (and tapes!) turned into a scrappy debut album. More importantly, nearly every song on The Loon had an urgency that carried through the album's twists and turns.
With their irreverent debut album, The Loon, Minnesotans Tapes 'n Tapes reminded us kids under thirty what was great about bands like the Pixies and Pavement. They were anti-establishment in a tongue-in-cheek way and refreshingly self-deprecating. Above all, their music was hook-laden and melodic. When The Loon was released in 2006, it seemed to me to be very much in that vein.
Review Summary: re-submitIf Aziz Ansari’s character Clell Tickle really was responsible for the success of Tapes ‘n Tapes, and for the glowing review their debut, The Loon, received from infamous indie tastemaker Pitchfork Media way back in 2005, then it begs the question: where the *** was he in 2008? A 5. 6? Surely that warrants a Columbian necktie, if nothing else. And if he isn’t, and the writer of said review really did find The Loon, which I would not hesitate to describe as a slightly uneven re-hash of Pixies/Pavement-influenced indie rock, to be worthy of the title ‘Best New Music,’ then I am presented with another question: How did Tapes ‘n Tapes, who were once a promising, if relatively unoriginal, indie band, create such an inferior second record under such superior circumstances? After all, The Loon was recorded in a friend’s basement, without the aid of a professional producer, and Walk It Off, well, does the name David Fridmann ring any Flaming Lips-sounding bells?Anyway, the album starts out promising: Le Ruse is prime Tapes ‘n Tapes.
Are Dave Fridmann’s eardrums still functioning? Maybe he stood a little too close to Mercury Rev’s bass monitor or spent too many years squeezing every last decibel out of noiseniks Mogwai and the Flaming Lips. Whatever the reason, the leadoff tracks on two recent Fridmann productions—Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s Some Loud Thunder and Walk It Off, the second album from Tapes ‘N Tapes—sound as if they were fed through the ruptured subwoofers of an ’86 Firebird. Opener “Le Ruse” is caked in so much low-end distortion that the Minneapolis quartet gets lost in the crackling mud.