Mary's Voice by The Music Tapes

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Mary's Voice by The Music Tapes
1 review. Write a review for us »
7/10 Clinton 27 June 2013

You will note our new reviewing system where we now have marks out of ten. This is a good thing for picky reviewers such as myself.

A large percentage of records get lumped into the four-out-of-five region and as you can imagine there is a huge difference in quality between them. Take this Music Tapes release. It's a guy who was involved in Neutral Milk Hotel which immediately puts me on the back foot as I am amongst the 0.0000000000001% of the population for whom their music does very little. (In fact, at a party in the wilds of the American midwest I was once threatened with violence for announcing that I didn’t like them.)

This album is having a similar effect. Unfortunately, though, that doesn’t mean that there are swathes of folk out there who this will appeal to. Its resolutely lo fidelity, complex music that seems to take influence from music from various decades. At times it sounds like the type of stuff my grandparents would listen to, using all kinds of old rickety instruments such as euphoniums, flugelhorns, singing saws and all sorts of organs wheezing away.

On top is your usual kind of whiny American voice. It's all recorded on old vintage equipment so it has a nice muffled quality to the recording. No compression or high end fizz is going to ruin this. So I like the ideas behind it, the recording techniques, the retreat away from the digitized, computerised world we know. There are carousel romps, carols, hymns, lullabies. It's not an easy listen: the music shifts tempos and feels throughout and tracks barely get going before they grind to a halt. At its most straightforward think of something halfway between early Beirut and a 1930s marching band.

It's not for me but I appreciate its determination to forge ahead in its particular furrow, and as a result no doubt it will be a favourite of someone, somewhere. Therefore, I gives it a seven.




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