Dayve Hawks’ Memory Tapes project is a one-man excursion
into psychedelic, electronic, blissed-out pop music, something we’ve seen a bit
of as of late from the likes of Washed Out and Toro Y Moi, among others. This
new wave of home-recorded, lo-fi e-music is appealing for the hazy flow of
sounds and textures it creates. Memory Tapes carries on this tradition proudly,
although Hawks eschews computer sequencing programs, instead playing and manipulating
instruments at his home studio in New Jersey.
The music, based around a swirl of keyboards, drums,
guitars, and effects, is light and spry, but on this new album in particular,
it drives like rock and roll. That’s ’50s and ’60s rock and roll, to be exact,
or at least that was Hawks’ intention. He cites girl groups, doo-wop, and The
Kinks among his influences in writing and recording Player Piano, and
this comes through on tracks like the syncopated and funky “Offers” and the
peppy and propulsive guitar line of “Sunhits.” The weakest element here is
Hawks’ voice. It’s not distractingly bad, but at times it sounds like he’s
attempting to sing better than he may actually be capable of. But overall the
effect is a good one, especially when his vocal melodies are contrasted against
a slightly warped Boards Of Canada-style musical backdrop.
Memory Tapes will be touring as a full band this time
around, a tactic that should serve these songs well because of the many layers
and textures Hawks has injected into his music. It will be interesting to see
how a project like this translates into a live setting, and if Hawks is able to
build upon the musical character he is attempting on this album.
In The Dark,” “Sunhits” JONAH FLICKER