Tape Tension - Sounds From Past Nights - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Tape Tension - Sounds From Past Nights

by James Weiskittel Rating:8 Release Date:2018-09-28
Tape Tension - Sounds From Past Nights
Tape Tension - Sounds From Past Nights

The brainchild of Minneapolis-based musician/producer Jack Ross, Tape Tension’s debut release Sounds From Past Nights is a true ‘solo’ project in every sense of the word. Ross (who wrote, performed, and produced the record himself) displays an uncanny sense of taste and restraint as he expertly wields an array of instruments on the ten-song effort that was reportedly some three years in the making.

There’s a pronounced sense of suburban melancholy that permeates much of Sounds From Past Nights. The heavy-handed synths and understated drumming are perhaps best described as a combination of 80’s synthpop (think Depeche Mode) and 90’s alt-rock (with a tinge of new wave thrown in for good measure) while Ross’ unassuming croon evokes shades of Real Estate’s Martin Courtney.

The record opens with “City”, an R&B reduction of sorts that flows seamlessly into the album’s first single, the mid-tempo synth workout that is “Driving”. The cinematic instrumental “Cruze” set’s the stage for the infectiously upbeat “Palms” while the undeniably affecting “Running” serves as the album’s emotional centerpiece.

Meanwhile, the appropriately entitled “Daydream” features some of the record’s most tasteful guitar playing while a pair of moving ballads (“Balconies”, “Sun”) cements Sounds From Past Nights overarching theme of heartbreak and loss with what are some of Ross’ most engaging vocals.

While the record’s thirty-two minute running time tends to feel a bit brief upon first listen, Ross’ decision to place quality above quantity ultimately proves to be a blessing in disguise, as Tape Tension’s debut is never in danger of overstaying its welcome. The even balance of vocal-led numbers and concise instrumentals only serves to reinforce the idea that Sounds From Past Nights is best taken in as a whole.

As a self-produced, self-released musical statement, Tape Tension’s Sounds From Past Nights succeeds in providing listeners with a direct line into the world of Ross’ nostalgia-laced fantasies. And while time will tell if Tape Tension’s debut will prove to be a singular document of personal catharsis or a launching pad for future endeavors, either way, it’s damn good stuff. For fans of wistful, daydream-inducing indie-pop ala Porches, Chromatics and Ducktails.

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