[Album Review] Tapes ‘n Tapes – Outside

By Will Oliver, January 16th 2011 — with 1 comment Other

Tapes ‘n Tapes – Outside | 2011 | Ibid Records

Purchase at Insound

Tapes ‘n Tapes wonderful debut album The Loon captured many hearts in 2005. I distinctly remember it coming out just as I was discovering the world of indie rock. It was the first time that I saw a band rise from blogs to wide acclaim. Unfortunately, this type of fame is both a blessing and a curse. People were ready to rip apart their sophomore effort, before it was even conceived.

Walk It Off, the band’s 2008 follow up to The Loon got a lukewarm reception, and the bands future seemed bleak. Many felt that the album was lacking any hooks, and that it suffered from overproduction. Sure, it lacked the charm of The Loon, but it wasn’t totally disposable as critics made it out to be.

So here we are in 2011, and the band is finally back with a new album. It’s a new decade and enough time has passed for people to hit the refresh button. The band has gone back to their roots, releasing new album Outside on their own record label, Ibid Records, just like they did for The Loon.

At this point, Tapes ‘N Tapes have nothing to prove to anyone but themselves. They went out and made the record that they wanted. After listening to Outside, it’s safe to say that Tapes ‘n Tapes are feeling comfortable once again.

The album starts well with opener “Badaboom”. It shines with earnest warmth, bringing you close to the record. The lively horns in “One In The World” gives the impression that the band has loosened up a bit, which is a good thing. With that in mind, the best songs from Tapes ‘n Tapes are the ones where they let loose and hit the rock out button.

Remember the freak out rock of “10 Gallon Ascots”? Moments like that are when the band is at their best. This is why first single “Freakout” stands so tall amongst the rest of the album. Don’t get me wrong, as a whole this is a pretty solid album. It’s just, no song quite holds a candle to it. It sounds like the best 90s rock and roll that never was. It perfectly captures the live energy of Tapes ‘n Tapes, that too often gets lost in some of their recordings.

Hearing the band bring the rock at the end of “Hidee Ho” treads towards psych rock, and it’s a good fit for them. “People You Know” is a solid pop song that showed flashes of the same catch songwriting that we heard on The Loon.

Overall, Tapes ‘n Tapes made a solid attempt to return to form. Some songs may be more memorable than others, but it’s a pretty solid record. It’s an album that got better after a few listens, and it may even grow even more as the year continues. Tapes ‘n Tapes aren’t a band that are flashy upon first listen, but I think this album is warm enough to find a way in your heart at the end of the day. Forget about what they did in the past, and just enjoy this new album for what it is.

Rating: 7.5/10

What do you think about Outside? Leave a comment below with your thoughts, and your own score.

[mp3]: Tapes ‘n Tapes – Freak Out
[mp3]: Tapes ‘n Tapes – Freak Out – Badaboom

  • Keegan Swenson

    I like this album review, well thought out.
    They just played a free show over at the electric fetus record store and had a very strong energy. They seem like cool guys just trying to make honest music.

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