You will love ‘Tape Loops’, but only if you are able to get your head around the artsy nature of this project.
Label: Trans Records
Released: 16th October 2015
As the co-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer for Death Cab For Cutie, Chris Walla’s status within the emo hierarchy is one of great admiration, but he is also somewhat overshadowed by the scene’s more theatrical craftsman. However, having played a significant role in penning the likes of ‘Transatlanticism’ and ‘Brothers On A Hotel Bed’, Walla has snuggled his way into the hearts of a generation, but it wasn’t to last.
Death Cab remains a’rolling with a sensational eighth album, ‘Kintsugi’, firmly under their belt, but last year saw Walla’s amicable departure from the band. Walla has maintained a low profile since he parted ways with his livelihood of 17 years, but the ears of his elite fan base remained pricked in anticipation for a solo return.
It should be said before diving into this piece of incredibly complex work: do not expect anything remotely akin to a Death Cab For Cutie record. The title explains all, as Walla clearly sets out to boost his reputation as a producer as well as a songwriter. Taking the retrospective approach of manipulating analogue recordings, this collection of five instrumentals, driven almost entirely by tender electric piano, seems more fitting for a movie soundtrack at times. It may verge on monotony with a lack of progression, but closing number ‘Flytobe’ offers some salvation with a pleasant curveball of call-and-response acoustic guitar.
As introverted and intelligent as its composer, ‘Tape Loops’ runs the risk of over-demanding focus and patience, but offers great reward to those who stick with it. To any Death Cab die-hards who have traced Walla’s post-departure steps to this point: you will love ‘Tape Loops’, but only if you are able to get your head around the artsy nature of this project. Otherwise, you may as well stick with Walla’s former glories. Danny Randon