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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Tapebenders

Chasing Ghosts

Review by Gary Hill

This group started out as “Elusive Parallelograms.” This album is a compilation of stuff they have recorded in the past. I reviewed one of their albums before, and two of the songs here appear on that album. For the sake of consistency the reviews for those two tracks are adapted from that review. So, what kind of music is this? That’s really the billion dollar question. It’s hard to pin-point a sound. In a word you could say “alternative,” but that doesn’t really nail it down. The sound these guys produce is dense, rich with lots and lots of layers. Yet the songs are accessible in some strange way. It’s like pop music if pop music were delivered with all kinds of layers of fuzz-driven, dream-pop infused, shoegaze instrumentation. Whatever you call it, though, it never lets up in terms of quality. This set is just so good. I can’t imagine a better introduction to this group.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Reverse Polarity

This comes in with a psychedelic meets melodic progressive rock vibe. It gets more crunch as it moves forward. There is a definite shoegaze kind of vibe to this instrumental opening number. It’s quite tasty.

Oblivion
After a quick bit of electronics for the intro, they pound out into some seriously hard edged rock. This has a lot of punk, metal and psychedelia. There is almost a space rock edge to it. It’s a killer.
Nuclear Man
This one has some great sounds. It’s sort of a psychedelic rocker. In a lot of ways it feels like it could have come out of the 1960s heyday of psychedelia. That said, there is some Oasis and maybe even some White Stripes built into this. It’s catchy, yet odd at the same time. It’s a killer tune, however you slice it. There’s literally a screaming section at the end.
Semantics
I love the noise rock introduction here. The riff groove that takes over after that is just plain on fire. The sound has a lot of psychedelia in it, but there’s a lot more, too. This is just so powerful. It’s noisy and yet accessible and fun. It’s a high energy powerhouse that’s among the highlights of this set.
60 MPH
A riff driven alternative rock meets pop sound opens this. The thing takes on more of a power-pop edge on the choruses. It’s got a great sound overall. The energy level is high and it’s just another great song on a great album. There is really a dream pop edge to this. They take it through some unique shifts and turns and turn it out into a real shoegaze styled jam at the end.
Rev
This is a smoking rocker. Take a bit of Cheap Trick, add in some psychedelia and a little punk rock and you’ve got a good idea of what to expect here.
Modern Splendor
Acoustic guitar opens this and this cut is really accessible as it grows out from there. It has a lot of dream pop sound to it. This is alternative rock in a melodic jam. It’s a little punky, but more psychedelic than anything else. They turn it out into a rather progressive rock like jam late that has some world music in the mix.
8 Bit
Electronic music meets shoegaze on this cool rocker. The harder rocking stuff later is quite powerful. This thing just manages to rock out while still feeling quite accessible. It’s just another example of the talent these guys possess.
Orange
The fast paced jam that makes this up is more pure punk in tone and delivery. It’s another in a chain of strong material.
Written
Starting in an acoustic driven way, this grows out gradually from there. Psychedelia, modern prog and more seem to combine as this works forward. There are definitely more proggy elements in the layers that come over the top later.
Glue
The opening section here is melodic, proggy and quite pretty. They fire out into some smoking hot music from there and the cut turns towards a real punk rocker as the vocals join. It’s a punk rocker with some hints of space rock and more.
Absolution
Melodic alternative rock with great hooks is the idea here. Like everything else on this set, there is so much going on here. Yet, it never really feels cluttered or busy. Everything just lends to the tone and sound of the music. There are some powerhouse instrumental moments late in this piece where they seem to pull out all the big guns.
Oscillator
Starting with a mellower segment, they bring the first vocals in that kind of sound. They power out into a powerhouse alternative rock jam from there. It drops back to the more stripped back jam at times, though. This is another awesome piece of music on a disc that’s full of awesome music.
 
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