Tapes 'n Tapes rose as the triumphant victors of this year's SXSW festival with NME raving about their electric indie. With a mixture of neat, tight electronica and catchy riffs leaping over impassioned vocals, it's no wonder the pundits are excited; playful energy surrounds the perfectly polished and stonily sincere record.
Opener ' Just Drums' is jumpy, packed with brittle riffs, while single, 'Insistor' is the obvious focus with its deep, rumbling guitars that quiver with tension, before the chorus breaks out into a fast-paced gallop through the insistent, highly-charged chorus.
The sound is a little less immediate than that of the current crop of new Britrock guitar bands like The Kooks and The Automatic, but hopefully with such strong rhythms Minneapolis' Tapes n'Tapes will bring with them a renewal in twinkling, experimental indie. Yes, there is a little Pixies about Josh Grier' occasionally maniacal vocals and the brooding guitars, but it's a mere reference, which all bands claim, perhaps coming to the fore in the surf rock sighs of 'Crazy Rock', before it spits out macho swaggering riffs like a rock n'roll machine.
'In Houston' shuffles along on a swaying rhythm with twinkling glockenspiels preceding brash, domineering guitar riffs that growl and leer during the catchy chorus. 'Manitoba' starts with the same easygoing, lilting air, like an American calypso hymn with jangling bells and dreamy, reflective vocals, however its coda reaches a new pace and breaks out into a grinding, anxious guitar rhythm. This nervy, instantly changeable creation is the closest that Tapes n'Tapes could come to a lullaby and it's this lithe energy that really comes across on 'The Loon'. Even the most buoyant of rhythms, such as the catchy lift of 'Cowbell' can be transformed with dark vocals, lyrics like, "Your roots they rot" and "I've been a better lover with your mother", and frantic discord.
'Omaha' is an unusual truly calm and pensive number, which collects the band's playful percussion and manic melody and transforms it into skittering drums and a muted piano rippling behind a sooting vocal melody. The album finishes with the trippy 'Jakou's Suite', mostly an instrumental it careens around the musical alphabet with the verve and skill of a writer.
From start to finish 'The Loom' keeps you on your toes, the album is most undoubtedly interesting, but whether the nervy tunes can really be taken into the nation's heart is another thing, perhaps Reading and Leeds appearances will prove hold the answer.