Memory Tapes: Player Piano

Categories: Review Roundup
Memory Tapes -- Player Piano
​I fancy myself a bit of a know-it-all when it comes to certain things about a band -- details like where the band is from, what label they are on, and how many albums they have released. Color me surprised, then, when I just found out that Memory Tapes is the moniker for Dayve Hawk, former lead singer and founder of Philadelphia-based indie rock band Hail Social. Hawk releases his second Memory Tapes album today, Player Piano -- and here I had no clue he was involved with a band I used to really enjoy.

Dayve Hawk lit up the blogosphere back in 2008 with his multifarious Memory Tapes remixes, as well as 2009's debut LP Seek Magic. Then championed as chillwave, Memory Tapes is now seen as a more calculated producer effort by Hawk, and rightfully so -- he has hit his stride with Player Piano and its minimalist, layered synths and lo-fi yearnings.

What the critics are saying:

BBC Music: Aside from the best three tunes, then, Player Piano is a musical jacket potato: satisfying but never amazing.

NME: The result is a record that sounds like it really wants to be a cracking pop album but can't bring itself to shake off the chunky sweater of esoteric credibility. Which is a shame because elsewhere, Memory Tapes oozes the crossover charm of Broken Bells or The Postal Service.

Spin: Player Piano's handcrafted tales of loneliness and bad romance draw quiet power from Hawk's charmingly reedy vocals, while the layered synths and other scruffy keyboards evoke subliminal longings and anxieties.

Drowned In Sound: For all its homespun beauty, Player Piano's most noteworthy trait is the omnipresence of Hawk's airy tone...Here, its hands are firmly on the wheel, driving the album into fresh pastures and -- surely to Hawk's chagrin -- wider spheres.

Player Piano is out now via Carpark Records.

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