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Album 18 of 500: Tapes ‘n Tapes – Walk It Off

May 30, 2010

BAND: TAPES ‘N TAPES
ALBUM:  WALK IT OFF
LABEL:  XL
RELEASE DATE:  April 8th 2008

Walk It Off was a letdown for most music critics, feeling that the album could not live up to their 2005 first full length, the Loon. This writer disagrees. Walk It Off is a polished extended version of the Loon. Walk It Off was released three years after the Loon.  Songs on the Loon like “Manitoba” and “Omaha” hinted the band’s direction. Comparisons to indie front runners like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Wolf Parade, Pavement, Modest Mouse, and even the Pixies, Tapes ‘n Tapes are expected of such ridiculous great heights. Tapes ‘n Tapes formed in Minneapolis Minnesota in 2003, led by Josh Grier. Walk It Off was produced by Dave Fridmann, who also produced albums by the Flaming Lips and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Walk It Off is low key, sappy and dreamy. While the lyrics differ, ranging from betrayal, frustration, confusion to sweet and romantic.

Walk It Off is like a fairy tale, sounding sweet and innocent, but at times it carries deep underlining frightening meanings, extremely poetic and even self loathing.  The song meanings are somewhat hard to interpret at times as well, for example in “Demon Apple”, “I am the demon of the apple’s eye/Come round when your head’s on fire/We will be in touch with time/When you come into the Apple’s eye.” Assuming ones guess is as good as the next. Walk it Off could also be considered as an audio version of a classic piece of fiction about the sea. Sea worthy lyrics are present in eight of the twelve tracks. The last song on the album, “The Dirty Dirty,” ends with the lyrics,  “Constant eye bends, where did all the money go/You are far from the isle in a sea bond.”  Tapes ‘n Tapes albums present more of a classic story book, than quick lived modern rock short stories.

Poetic lyrics conquers Walk It Off. An example of this can be heard in, “Hang Them All”. “What you might believe before/and you might believe in when the tide runs, runs/All you are the best of friend/and all you offered at all with the sides run, round,” we also see a  running theme of betrayal in this album.

Non happy emotions run rampant through this album.  Betrayal is also present in the sappy and dreamy song, “Conquest.” The first verse opens with, “A million miles/ of common sense/Can’t hide the reader/Can’t fill the trench/And what you hide/ is what I sold/And when you’re next to me/The feeling’s cold.” “Say Back Something,” by far the best song on the album and is chock-full of frustration and confusion. “Say Back Something,” is a love crumbling anthem of a frustrated person who just wants romantic assurance that everything will be okay after a fight, “Say back something/Why can’t you look me in the eyes,” only a few lines later we learn that, “And I- Oh, I’m so scared”.  Walk It Off does have rare moments of happiness.  Grier’s grainy vocals are soothing in the romantic “Headshock,” regardless of the title, “Your needs/I will never never never/ leave out/So still /Your heart/I will never never never never/Stop.” Truly a requested dedication on college radio to that guy or gal you dig in your sculpture class.

No one would let Walk It Off live up to the Loon. “Say Back Something,” and “Headshock,” could easily fit on the first album. Perhaps Walk It Off is more of a lyrically heartache but certainly not musically. In regards to the comparison of Pavement, this writer does not hear it, nor did Pavement member Bob Nastanovich as he stated in an interview.  Tapes ‘n Tapes should not be scared, for they are do have a fantastic sound, and every record has been decent.  Their third LP is being recorded this year and hopefully its a head shock for critics. Walk it Off is truly a wonderful indie rock conquest for your listening pleasure.

RM CRESSER © 2010 500 Rad Records

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