Tape Deck Mountain – Secret Serf EP

Tape Deck Mountain - Secret Serf EP

Tape Deck Mountain‘s first release, 2009’s Ghost album, met with mixed reviews and was criticised on several levels. ‘Lacking rhythmic structure’ ‘unfocused’, ‘vaguely amorphous’, were just some of the criticisms the San Diego band found themselves on the receiving end of and I need to admit that I haven’t heard their album. I will make a point of finding a copy now though, if the four songs on Secret Serf are any indicator of their earlier work’s more inspired moments.

First track “P.I.” has a grinding guitar intro and some insistent though lightly handled percussion to power it into a melodious confusion of echoing vocal and keyboard arpeggio, balancing the songs melody with a production that remains on the restrained side of effusive. First impressions count and, as opening tracks go, it’s a more than satisfactory introduction. Next track “Trevor” is a repetitive doomrock crawl that seems to carry on for far longer than its actual 3 and a half minutes, in a cleverly structured and notably well produced way that some of the bands earlier critics perhaps found a bit too contrived, although it certainly beats churning out the same old 80s rhythms all over again – one implied criticism of TDM I’ve read is that they aren’t precisely the right Joy Division noise – and more power to their imaginations I say, third track “It Goes Down” is a tightly controlled guitar ballad and an actual pop tune into the bargain (remember those?). The last and title track has TDM heading in a prog direction with a swaying, elegaic ballad that builds purposefully to its dreampop conclusion. Tape Deck Mountain deserve some quite real praise for this release, and their next album might prove a must hear of (hopefully) 2011.

Lefse Records