Well‚ it had to happen sometime‚ and now‚ nearly 30 years after The Replacements' debut‚ a new foursome of Minneapolites has finally stepped forward in the indie-rock universe. On Tapes 'N Tapes' newest‚ Walk it Off‚ the band echoes their forefathers of flyover angst in many ways‚ but most notably in their leaning more towards rock and away from‚ well … tight jeans. Foregoing any usual debate of descriptive indie-monikers‚ Walk it Off has its moments of both the light and the vicious‚ but there's no doubt Tapes sound most comfortable when they're on the attack.
"Le Ruse" sets the album's precedent of big early on‚ and its forceful draw builds on each pass. Josh Grier's lead vocals take on more of a melodic‚ instrumental role here‚ as well as on much of the album‚ but this welcoming uncertainty is a key to the music's allure. Many of these songs do take some interesting turns‚ and flow in much more of a linear form than a standard verse/chorus structure. It makes cuts like "Hang Them All" more welcoming upon each listen‚ as you learn to anticipate the climb.
At times the band hits a pocket that rings of a Pixies or even Violent Femmes groove‚ but the more the harder edge is pressed upon‚ the more the individualized voice of the band comes out. There's definitely a conscious effort to ensure each song is its own separate entity‚ and in that way‚ any listener will have their own standout track‚ but "Headshock" gets my vote. In many ways‚ it embodies the sonic spectrum of the band: starting in a gentle indie-waltz in three‚ digging in heavy with a gritty guitar punch on the chorus‚ and then hitting an outro worthy of military airstrike footage. Equally as commanding‚ "Demon Apple" starts with a hesitant hand-crank chug‚ but builds into a full-on rail thumper. They're great tunes‚ and prove that Tapes 'N Tapes have no problem pulling off the big anthem; their heads just aren't big enough to go for it all the time.