Tapes 'n Tapes, 'Outside' (Ibid)

Critical Mass
Release Date: January 11, 2011
Label: Ibid

by Ian Cohen

Tapes 'n Tapes' more polished yet underwhelming second album, 2008's Walk It Off, made the Minneapolis group a "live by the blog, die by the blog" cautionary tale. So here, they return to their humble roots on the self-released Outside, conjuring echoes of any number of '90s indie titans (Modest Mouse, Neutral Milk Hotel). But there's far less whiz-bang joy in their sonic scrapbook these days, except for hard-charging opener "Badaboom." Elsewhere, there's a pervasive lack of hooks, not to mention an eerie sense of anonymity.

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