Hailing from Cambridge (the OG UK spot–not our own Massachusetts), Tape Runs Out is a five piece indie act with a new single out on Ear to Ear Records. Actually, let’s call it a double A-side because it’s technically a two-track release (Friends/Flowers), each of which is deserving of your attention. Both are driven by infectious grooves and clean production, with atmosphere laid on thick and culled from a variety of sources–reverb, choir synth effects, drifting background vocals, and even beach sounds.
Frontman Liam Goodrum-Bell’s off-kilter bass vocals are featured prominently in Friends–a sparkling pop track with all of the melodic sensibility and brevity of a guitar-driven Magnetic Fields. And, like Magnetic Fields, the shiny optimism in the track’s instrumentation is anchored in moody and misanthropic lyricism.
Whereas Friends‘ vocals recall Stephin Merrit, Flowers sees Goodrum-Bell take a more whispered approach with quiet backing harmonies drawing out the delicate melody. A lush and hypnotic rhythm is the pulse of this one, creating a sort of haunting bedroom angst at a beach town resort–guitar and synth layered over the sound of seagulls and an urgently ringing telephone. Spoken vocals are buried deep in the mix, probably inspired by the band’s affinity for hip hop.
If that sounds a little weird to you, well, I guess it kind of is. But it works. A lot of acts try to do the moody layered atmosphere thing and fail miserably, with muddy, claustrophobic, and even manic results. Tape Runs Out walks away from this release sounding relevant, coherent and, maybe, just a little genius. A full-length is scheduled to come out this fall and–if this is a taste of things to come–we can expect great things.