Tapes 'N Tapes
Disentangling themselves from larger-label involvement seems to have lightened some of the load on this highly touted blog-band forerunner’s shoulders. Whereas their previous two records were on the cooler-than-cool XL Recordings, Outside returns Minnesota’s Tapes ’N Tapes to the DIY fold. Not to say this isn’t still indie-guitar pop of a darkened hue, but gone is some of the tightly wrought tension of previous favorites. Opener “Badaboom” bubbles along on a bright upstroke riff with open-chord space that allows the dirt of the chorus’s pleading to stand out. “SWM” is downright joyful: there’s still a thread of melancholy woven in, but acoustic jangle and footstomp are what pass for fun around this camp. That lasts until the repeated refrain of the climax — “You are alone. You are alone.” — kicks in. “One in the World” flirts with the predominant tropicália vibe du jour with a stick-on-stick beat and buoyant horns. And “Freak Out” is a grim dance party that threatens to push the honky-tonk into the swamp. It’s a broad spectrum of styles, but sometimes that’s just another way to describe the comfort of being your (multiple) selves.