Tape/Off – … and sometimes gladness (self-released) FREE DOWNLOAD
By Ben Green
Everett, I feel I should call on your experienced opinion regarding any need for disclosure. If you go to three gigs in Brisbane you’ll meet everyone. I often go to three a week. The Tape/Off guys are super-friendly and social, so I’ve met em all, like em all, and my band’s recorded at Branko’s studio (the project was shelved for other reasons). I feel that’s just about unavoidable with these guys in this town, and I don’t think it’s affected what I think of this EP. Anyway, here’s the review.
TAPE/OFF – …AND SOMETIMES GLADNESS
As is one of the many indignities to be borne by a local band, much has been said about Tape/Off’s assumed influences, being mainly loud glory days guitar rock from the quirky (Pavement) to the spiky (Fugazi). The band itself performed the brave and uncommon gesture of a set-long tribute to their Brisbane forebears Screamfeeder, whose Kellie Lloyd nods back with a guest spot on this EP (and who recently adopted the lads as her backing band). But with their second EP, ‘… and sometimes gladness’ (free on Bandcamp), it’s time to recognise what’s new and unique about Tape/Off.
For starters, because it’s the first thing you can’t help but notice: they’re noisy. Not just loud – everyone knows Branko Cosic is the loudest drummer in Brisbane – but noisy. This thing hits you like falling into a thorny bush. After a few listens, however, it’s a cosy nest to which you keep returning. Seriously, I am listening right now for the third time in a row, which is how I tend to do it these past few weeks, and it’s so warm and scratches so many right places I can’t imagine it any other way.
Sonic adventurism like this seems too rare in rock bands (see also Nova Scotia). This is the promise of digital self-recording realised – not spack-filler and sugar-coating to make your garage band sound like it’s playing note-perfectly to an empty Boondall Entertanment Centre, but the dropping of barriers and access to the kitchen sink that The Flaming Lips had to sign to Warner Bros to enjoy. The Casa Branko studio, already developing a name, has itself a brilliant calling card.
Enough about fucking sonics (the sonics, the sonics), except to say that they serve the songs, and the songs are great. If there’s one thing to be learnt from all those supposed ‘classic indie rock’ influences, it’s the knack of turning the unexpressed emotion, the fumbled conversation, the train window daydream, into something tangible and recognisable, maybe even into something that feels good, and just maybe into an anthem. It’s why those bands were admired so fervently and it’s why they have endured. Tape/Off have that knack.
It’s that, perhaps second only to the obvious reality that these guys are going to do whatever the fuck they want because they’re doing it out of love (another essential too often missed by self-professed devotees of the Greats), that makes Tape/Off special.
Get on board before the 2020 reunion tour.