Some albums hit you flat out from the outset, all sounds blazing in one big, bombastic first impression, but some, like ‘Grace/Confusion’ slow burn and flicker into life, building and blossoming with each track. NZCA/Lines and Chromatics set the bar extremely high for beautifully constructed, sumptuously produced pop this year, but Dayve Hawk has transcended the challenge.
The six tracks on this third LP are a blissful maze of spaced-out electronica, West Coast harmonies and an exploratory, melodic drenching. Where ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ slides into an M83 aftermath of dreamy harmonics, ‘Sheila’ simmers in an odd Beach-Boys-meets-Fischerspooner-underworld, eschewing basic song structures and throwing up the contrasts. The giggling field recordings and upbeat tempo give ‘Safety’ a saccharine charm and fans of Junior Boys will find a lot to love in the shimmering ‘Follow Me’, but it’s the bleak atmosphere, penetrating krautrock beat and didgeridoo hum of ‘Let Me Be’ that really catches the ear. The darkest side of Memory Tapes gorgeous melancholy, it benevolently puts the danceable discordance into what is a staggeringly good album.
Read all of our new album reviews here, in this month’s Loud And Quiet