Tape Deck Mountain – Ghost

January 01, 1970

(Lefse)

 

www.lefserecords.com

 

While there is plenty to like about Tape Deck Mountain’s Ghost, the full-length debut from the
California noise/psyche-rock outfit, it just isn’t as compelling overall as the
backstory, band name, and album title suggest.

 

Fittingly, the early Tape Deck Mountain material was
recorded and distributed as cassette tapes, but the times don’t allow for them
to really stick to that format. A couple of the tracks on their pre-album Sparks EP (a 100 cassette limited
edition release, available digitally now) are raw and uncompromising-“March For
Anything Slash Nothing” is a hulking atonal mess, propped on a grimy looped
guitar scale and peppered with snare taps. Feedback and backward-swirling air
thrusts abound on “March”, and sadly this brief jolt isn’t quite matched on Ghost. When main Tape Deck Mountain man
Travis Trevisan, a professional graphic designer, lost his full-time gig, he
poured all of his energy into working on Ghost,
which in all sounds notably bigger than Sparks but falls short in stylish improvement on the former.

 

Tape Deck Mountain balance loads of searing guitar solos and
70s rock drum blasts with odd loops and field noises on Ghost. They look to My Bloody Valentine and the Byrds (is that a
chiming 12-stringer on “80/20”?) as often as The Brian Jonestown Massacre does,
and Trevisan mainly adheres to a talky, monotone vocal style. Closer “Bat
Lies,” void of the noise that permeates the others, is subtle and lovely, with
woodwinds and hand percussion underscoring one of the record’s few memorable
melodies. “Scantrons” is likely a crowd singalong at their hometown shows, with
its long, lazy build and big payoff, while “Ghost Colony” is a mostly instrumental
run, its eerie leads and shapeshifts rather befitting of the track title. But Ghost suffers in whole from
silly/unremarkable lyrics (“In the Dirt”) and indulgent, aimless bedroom
experiments (“F-“). Pin those tracks against the stronger entries here, and the
head scratcher doesn’t have so much to do with Ghost‘s mystifying but good psyche stuff; it’s that there’s so
little of it here.

 

Standout Tracks: “Scantrons,”
“80/20” DOMINIC UMILE

 

 

 

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