Some bands make pleasantly innocuous music that requires nothing more than the time required to listen to it. Other bands make music that demands a commitment, a reaction, a response – music that will not be ignored or fade into the background. Tape/Off are most certainly in the latter camp.
Four years on from their debut, Brisbane’s best-kept secret are back with their follow-up record, Broadcast Park. And they are not impressed with what they see. Across 11 songs and 45 minutes, they pointedly deliver an immediately-impressive set of songs that question “existentialism, the male psyche, societal conventions and restrictions, familial bonds and the myth of life on the road” while bringing in some quintessentially Brisbane sounds.
“…visceral songwriting and sneaky hooks…it’s a tough and tenacious outing that seamlessly balances its scruffy, frayed edges with restless rumination…” (thesoundcheck.org)
First single Day In, Day Out is a fine example, brimming with Tape/Off’s trademark fuzzed-out catchiness. The aggressively-chiming guitars and driving rhythms mirror the track’s urgent narrative of social breakdown amidst a backdrop of class division and social apathy.
It’s a snapshot of a world where empathy for one’s fellow man is firmly a relic of the past – “Get a job mate, get a f**king job! Get a haircut!” – and ends with frontman Nathan Pickels spitting “Ritual disgust” in a totemic display of societal despair, seeming to sense that perhaps there is no solution to this modern malaise.
“…this is malaise meets rage at its most percussive and poignant…” (themusic.com.au)
Tape/Off’s acclaimed debut Chipper was released to much fanfare back in 2014, making the longlist for that year’s AMP award and spawning the singles Pedestal Fan and Different Order as it loudly announced the foursome as an act to be reckoned with.
A standalone single Let’s Have A Baby followed in 2015, but Broadcast Park – released in July 2018 through Brisbane indie label Coolin’ By Sound (Thigh Master, Shrapnel, Spiral Stairs) – is their first substantial body of work in four years.
In their relatively-brief history Tape/Off have played alongside a swag of international acts such as Royal Blood, Kurt Vile, Pity Sex, Earthless and Future Of The Left, as well as homegrown bands including Violent Soho, DZ Deathrays, Screamfeeder, The Peep Tempel, Batpiss and Harmony.
But now is their time. Broadcast Park is being gushed over by critics, while the band deliver jaw-dropping shows of precise, controlled power, blending thunderous grooves with gleaming garage pop hooks that result in an exhilarating music experience that moves both the feet and the heart. Tune in. You’ll be glad you did.