Dec 17, 2012 Web Exclusive
Dayve Hawk, aka Memory Cassette, aka Memory Tapes, has made his name over the past four years doing essentially the exact same thing as Toro Y Moi but making no attempt to shake the glib "chillwave" tag that became so omniscient in the later part of the last decade. Still, in the lead-up to Grace/Confusion's release Hawk had promised something a bit different, something "messier" that wasn't quite an album of songs but rather "moments of 'songiness' that exist in the context of bigger pieces."
As with most pre-album artistic statements of new intent, this turns out to be bullshit. While it would be unfair and inaccurate to argue that this record sounds exactly the same as Seek Magic and Player Piano, Hawk does tend to use the same production style as on his earlier works, with the tones and textures and sound effects now lazily strewn out with little rhyme or reason. It's not necessarily messier; there is a lack of ambition and the six tracks, all between five and nine minutes in length, tend to repeat the same few ideas rather than sprawl out in anything resembling an interesting direction. It is, however, perhaps his most confused offering to date.
There are odd moments where it sounds as though Hawk-and consequently the listener—has actually woken from his creative slumber: opener "Neighborhood Watch" has a synth line that seems to claw at your ears for attention and the second half of "Let Me Be" is redolent of dread with its ominous, hollow, clanging percussion. But these highlights are all too brief, drowned in the sea of noodling hypnagogia, from the lazily drifting guitar solo outro of "Thru the Field" to the repetitive, cloyingly lightweight chimes and beeps of nominal lead single "Sheila."
Player Piano was received coolly for its lack of ambition and it's depressing to hear a follow-up that stubbornly refuses to learn from Memory Tapes' mistakes. (www.weirdtapes.blogspot.com)
Author rating: 5/10
Average reader rating: 5/10