It suggests something about Tapes 'N Tapes' wildfire buzz that, by the time they properly released this major label effort, it already seemed dated. This year's belles of the blogosphere pump life into The Loon by invigorating the familiar charms of the Pixies and Pavement, and muster an energetic Frankenstein of post-everything bedroom rock. The brew is instantly comparable to last year's it-band, the Arcade Fire, but with all their dynamic guitar spazzing, Tapes 'N Tapes have a taste for scrappier aesthetics. When they blend their influences cleverly and give into a penchant for sweet-tooth melodies, the group happens on their most memorable tunes even if the strutting backbeat of "Buckle" and the last-call ballad of "Manitoba" are about as challenging to the hipster zeitgeist as a pair of broken-in All Stars. As enamoring as the record's high points are, the unevenness of The Loon is its undoing, and the record flags when the group relies too heavily on cribbing tricks from its heroes. Tunes like "Just Drums" and "Cowbell" conjure those great ghosts of indie rock, but aren't unique at all. In other words, so five minutes ago.
Nate Cavalieri writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].