First, a confession: I am not exactly the ideal candidate to write a music review. I've listened to a lot of music over the years, but I'm not particularly analytical about why what's good is good and what's bad is bad. I like it enough to listen to it, or I don't. A real winner is the song that doesn't get skipped when the iPod is shuffling songs.
Some of the songs on the new Tapes 'N Tapes album, Walk it Off, are in that bunch. The Minneapolis-based band's second album features an underlying sound that connects everything into a coherent package, but things stay interesting because each song is a distinct offering. Some lean more toward noisy (album opener "Le Ruse") and others more dreamlike ("George Michael"), though all are a little bit of both. Drawing from my own music collection, the album reminds me most of a less edgy, more pop-oriented Wolf Parade.
Some songs aren't as strong as others (I'm always skipping to the next song before "Conquest" is over), but as I listened to the album again today I kept thinking, "No, this one is my favorite." Top candidates: the catchy "Hang Them All," "Headshock" and "Blunt." I like noisy — guitars, cymbals, drums, a little keyboard perhaps — and these songs deliver a tasty bit of noise, with melody intact and just a touch of non-cutesy quirk. Sometimes the instruments sound like they're at battle — but in a way that complements the group as a whole.
"Headshock" boasts a deceptively laid-back melody that erupts into a sing-along chorus backed by a heavy bass and guitar. "Blunt" bolsters its melody with layers of instruments that build up to a nice guitar hook and extended crescendo in the latter third of the song. They're the kinds of songs that catch your attention and envelope you in their sound — something good indeed.