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memory tapes - Player Piano
Lovely new album from Memory Tapes. Dayve Hawk's sepia-tinged early work presaged the hypnagogic pop and chillwave explosion, but for this, his second album proper, he claims to have drawn inspiration from insomnia, social awkwardness and a relationship meltdown. Not that you'd know it just from listening: for all its melancholy undertones, this is an album with a strong, bright pop sensibility; tracks like 'Wait In The Dark' 'Player Piano' are wonderfully hooky and direct, but still sufficiently strange and skew-whiff to reward listen after listen. 'Yes I Know' is just beautiful: with its martial drums, lovelorn harmonies and graceful strings, it's like a Pet Sounds number rendered in faded watercolours, while 'Offers' could be Ariel Pink if he was channelling 70s Canterbury rather than California. Memory Tapes has taken a giant evolutionary leap for this album, refining his instrumental palette and production technique to near-perfection; retaining a charming lo-fi patina while giving his beautifully composed songs the balance and detailed shading they deserve. It's just hugely accomplished and moving in a way that very little music is these days.