Album Review – Distant Light by Tape Waves (2018) (Bleeding Gold Records)

Dream-pop. Has lot of fans. They procure visions in my mind of intellectuals who really like the harp, which I suppose is a little strange considering very little dream-pop has much harp in it…but then, I am nothing if I am not a little strange.

I also drift towards visions of flowing movement. For in my addled mind, all dream-pop aficionados are extremely competent in the art of modern / contemporary dance and probably throw their favourite Cocteau Twins / The Mekons albums on every Tuesday evening after they have finished their crepes (it has to be ‘crepes’) and dance by waving huge pastel coloured flags luxuriously in the air, with deftly flowing extravagance. They then stop and meditate to an Enya track just to emphasize exactly why they are less troubled than me.

This Tape Waves album from Charleston, South Carolina married two piece Kim and Jarod Weldin, would be the perfect soundtrack should any harp loving, documentary maker decide that flag dancing was a notable subject of public interest. For, as in the best traditions of the genre, this album enables the listener to drift off into that personal space between introspection and rarefied beauty with tracks such the closing tracks Distant Light and Twilight (see below)  being the exact reason why the music collection of anyone with any connection to their feelings, usually ends up with a collection of dream-pop music, no matter how limited, that means something ‘to them’.

However an old jangle-head like myself must be hearing more in this album than just all manner of cinematic soundscapes, surely  owe that much to my multitudes of 11 blog readers? The answer is ‘definitely’. Tape Waves are one of those bands that imbue their beautiful dream-pop foundation with all manner of venerable jangle to such an extent that even the most flowery of dreamy popsters, may concede that it is the chiming, occasionally twanging clarity of the guitar work that is the true essence of this album.

Initially this aesthetic is manifest in the smooth, yet crystalline high end guitar clarity of the two opening tracks. Turning in has that crisp clarity that the 2010’s modern jangle-pop bands have gradually tumbled secreted onto our turntables whilst various college rock revivals floundered, whereas the proceeding Shimmer threatens to become psychedelic in nature with its delightfully cloying guitar twangs, but eventually wards off such portent by virtue of it’s overall beauty.

Both these tracks have that extra accentuation on the crystalline guitar work where the notes just hang for that moment longer than perhaps they should, before rolling into the next in a similar manner that a band such as The Clientele extort the beauty from their guitars.

Other notable tracks on the album such as Half There and Changing View (see below) concentrate more on a sound that reminds me of the stylistics of Frankie Rose (solo work) with that sort of extra glossy new wave essence that escapes self parody when done with the beautiful subtlety of this album. These tracks also drop the flighty echoed essence placed upon the vocals somewhat and let the beautiful vocal delivery of Kim Weldin breathe.

      Changing View            

Obviously there will be some, who rally against such music because “beauty is not a true reflection of the world we live where, the man is just out to get you and as such all music should be alternative and grumpy” (I may have missed a couple of ‘dudes’ and a ‘man’…to such people I say, if ever you decide to chill a bit, pick this album up to aid the transition !!!

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