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Memory Tapes

Memory Tapes is the pseudonym of another of the one-man
bedroom knob-twiddlers – in this case New Jersey’s Dayve Hawke –
and ‘Seek Music’ marks his UK debut.

‘Swimming Fields’ is the aptly named opening track, and sets the tone for the record with its floaty, underwater feel.

To reel out the clichéd but accurate adjectives, this is hazy, hypnotic and
enveloping stuff.

‘Bicycle’’s buzzy passages touch on Hot Chip and will sound awesome at three a.m. under lights,

while the album’s high point, ‘Green Knight’, is like New Order slowed to thirty-three rpm and laced with a funk guitar line… plus a melancholy piano ending.

Largely though, ‘Seek Music’ is clearly pretty generic stuff, however excellently produced.

Highly listenable, admirably inventive in places, but a little too conformist to quicken the pulse.

Beaten Awake are a bunch of bluecollar indie-schmindiers from somewhere in middle America who make mid-paced, mid-range,


alternately jangly and distorted rock music that is, based on the
evidence of ‘Thunder$troke’,


largely forgettable. Produced by Patrick Carney from the Black
Keys, their sophomore LP recalls, variously, IRS-era REM, The
National,

and non-triumphalism period Springsteen, but lacks much of the excitement, intensity or melody that those three acts thrive
on.

The most frustrating element of this record is Beaten Awake’s
studious rejecting of any ambition plenty of the tracks here contain
kernels of epic brilliance,

but are never given the space or attention to bloom. Only on the album’s
closer, ‘I shot the Mayor, not the Deputy Mayor’,

do things really begin to take off, but in truth it’s too little too late.

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