Review: Cassettes on Tape - "Cassettes on Tape"

Cassettes on Tape - Cassettes on Tape
(2012 Self-Released)
 From the moment I saw this Chicago quartet's two-toned cover art and their wonderfully anachronistic name, I knew I was in for a musical thrill ride. Sure, I've heard the old cliche about judging books by their covers, but this album was just too aesthetically pleasing to pass up. As luck would have it, the seven 80's inspired tunes on Cassette's on Tape's debut EP exceeded my already hefty expectations and may well form one of the best self-released records of the year.

 As the name suggests, Cassettes on Tape's eponymous record hearkens back to the age of Reagan and Return of the Jedi, taking influences from the jangle-pop of The Smiths and the heavy distortion of Sonic Youth. The first track, "Bad Letter", sounds like early R.E.M with its chorus-laden riff and bouncing bass. My favorite track, "Adored", slows things down a bit by capturing the anthemic mopiness of little known 90s act The Cry, yet reaches a heart stopping britpop crescendo at its finish.

 Things get pretty noisy during the second half of Cassettes on Tape, the sonic fuzz of Chapterhouse and My Bloody Valentine being especially prevalent in "Chelsea Said" and "Of Winter". Closing track, "She Colors The Sea" features crunchy, swirling chords that lead into a beautiful finale, awash in cavernous reverb. This finish is made more dramatic by the lead singer's gorgeous voice, like that of Morrisey's, which interweaves with those of a talented crew of backup singers.

 For any fan of raw post-punk or noisy shoegaze, this album is right in your sweet spot. Listen to it in full below.