Memory Tapes – Grace/Confusion

(Carpark)


Rating: NNN


On his third album, Memory Tapes – or the artist formerly known by the confusingly similar aliases Memory Cassette and Weird Tapes – attempts to dismantle dance music tropes. The New Jersey-based musician crams each of the LP’s seven songs with sonic surprises, as if to remind us that this isn’t just another electro-pop album.

At times, his execution is beautiful, like on opener Neighborhood Watch. It starts with androgynous cooing accompanied by a pulsating, dreamy synth, moves into dark, foreboding beats layered with vocals like a warning call, and ends with a space-age warrior theme and dramatic coda. The transformation is exhilarating.

That non-linear approach recurs throughout the album – poppy hooks mutate into fuzzy electronic textures, distortion leading to disco. But the listener soon learns to anticipate these constant switch-ups, and revelation eventually turns to boredom. You don’t always know what cosmic tunnel Memory Tapes will drag you through, but you can always expect a metamorphosis.

Top track: Neighborhood Watch

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