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Many people reading today’s feature are probably not old enough to have ever really owned vinyl records, which means that they will never have had the misfortune of leaving a beloved record in the wrong spot on an especially brutal summer day. Whether it was by the window in your bedroom or in the backseat of the car, the sun would occasionally wreak its destructive force upon the once perfectly-pressed disc, warping its contours just enough to turn the flat plane into something with gently rolling hills.
Odds are you wouldn’t even notice the damage–it could be so subtle at times–until you placed the needle down into the groove and heard what emerged from the speakers: a sinister, skewed version of a song you knew so well, the notes flattened or sharpened into the calliope tones of a carnival.
There is something to the echoed synthesizer notes on “Wait in the Dark” that conveys this same sense of distorted melody, of warping the edges slightly to create a twinge of dissonance. It’s almost imperceptible but is there, coloring the sound on this song from Memory Tapes‘ new sophomore release, Player Piano, released last month by Carpark Records.
Memory Tapes is the work of New Jersey resident Dayve Hawk, who describes his latest effort as “a sort of Motown suicide note.” To be perfectly honest, I’m not certain what that really means but must admit it sounds pretty cool. What I can tell you is that “Wait in the Dark” reminds this writer of the short-lived wave of indie-pop bands who flirted heavily with electronic music in the late ’90s and early ’00s–acts like hollAnd, Brittle Stars, and Figurine (whose Jimmy Tamborello effectively paved the way for his success as half of The Postal Service).
“Wait in the Dark” is bubbly, bursting with melodies, and has enough synthesizers to make you want to go find all those old, warped Yaz records you have hidden in your parents’ attic.