Tapes ‘n Tapes: “Freak Out”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Tapes-n-Tapes-Freak-Out.mp3|titles=Tapes ‘n Tapes: “Freak Out”]
It wasn’t too long ago when Tapes ‘n Tapes was indie rock’s next big thing. And there certainly was reason for the hype. The Minneapolis-based quartet’s 2006 effort, The Loon, is chock-full of raw pop hooks and a DIY sensibility that has often propelled forward the best that the genre has to offer.
And back in 2006, Tapes ‘n Tapes certainly seemed destined to become one of the elite. When the everyday no-namers decided to self-release a bad-ass concoction of Pixies-style rock songs that were just as upbeat and catchy as they were introspective and self-exploratory, something new and refreshing was at hand. The band came out of nowhere, really, garnering a buzz that thrust it onto a major label, and it was crowned as indie’s great new hope.
Then, like many heavily hyped bands, Tapes ‘n Tapes fell victim to the dreaded sophomore slump. Its first effort on a major label, Walk It Off, in 2008, fell short of reviving the youth and vivacity that dripped from every track on The Loon. Gone were the rough edges and hook-laden pop songs; instead, the album featured a collection of songs that seemed intent on missing the mark. Aside from the album’s standout track “Hang ’Em All,” Walk It Off seemed unable to capture what The Loon did.
It lacked that same freshness, that same energy that the band was somehow able to bottle on its first album. The band no longer offered its sparse yet frenzied melodies that helped each song gleam. Each song purged on gluttonous arrangements and instruments, an indulgent examination of what the band should have done with a major-label budget. And so Tapes ‘n Tapes became another victim of hype — so much promise, but so much pressure. And it fell to the wayside, for better or worse.