With the release of Outside, Tapes n’ Tapes have already put their hat in the ring for our favorite album of the year. 2005’s The Loon is on my short list for favorite album of all-time, and I loved Walk It Off much more than most. On Outside, however, the band shows an astonishing growth of a unique sound they’ve been honing for years now. With strings, horns, samplers and an arsenal of instruments that raises the musicianship of the band to an all-time high, the sound is almost orchestral but still comprises of the occasional off-time percussion and quirky vocals that drew me in as a mega fan.
Highlights on this record are abound. Opening track “Badaboom” slowly builds with twangy guitar, slightly off-time drums, and even some strings and keys into crescendo. “One In The World” may be the funnest track on Outside, an addictive pop song featuring a horn section and has lead Tape Josh Grier asking, “Am I Insane?” “Nightfall” may be the album’s best track with Grier’s repeating vocal, “And no one will wait for a sun, that no one can see” inducing goosebumps near the 4-minute mark on repeated listens. We saw the band play “Hidee Ho” two years ago and knew it foreshadowed good things to come. The track features a drowsy bassline leading into screeching guitars and ineffable shouting by Grier. “On and On” is yet another standout that begins with an addictive sample, leading into more melodic guitars and absorbing effects, all culminating into a wall of sound. It begins the perfect ending to a nearly perfect record.
Jesus Christ, other reviewers still calling Tapes n’ Tapes a flash in the pan need to recalibrate their good taste. This may just be the best album I have reviewed on this site since we started three years ago. Tapes n’ Tapes’ Outside was released on their own Ibid Records label on Tuesday. You can catch the band live on their upcoming North American tour. The video for lead single “Freak Out” is below.