Inspector Tapehead – So Solar [Glint]

Second album up from Inspector Tapehead, after 2010’s mildly acclaimed – their words not mine – Duress Code; and rather good it is.

Lo-fi, but actually quite complex plinks, plonks and strums – all the while lead by confident, if occasionally slightly dreamy, droney vocals.

There’s a joyous 60’s feeling about elements and the the odd guitar wig out; in the opener ‘Historic Gulliver’ for example; pop pure and simple, albeit artfully constructed with little nods to other works here and there – ‘A Vision From The Bridge At Mulben’ doesn’t half sound like ‘Dear Prudence’ with Tim Burgess having a shot at the mic.

The fact ‘Wait For It’ takes a sideways contemplative glance at the BBC shipping forecast tune only adds to the happy go lucky spirit of adventure.

None of that is dreary homage though; bangers like ‘So Solar’ itself gallop along in a reasonably singular style and suggest a rather meaty live proposition.

Perhaps one might liken it to Beck-type meanderings in that though there may be a vibe across the piece an air of experimentation pervades; the actual song in terms of what is recorded is more important than being part of any cohesive stylistic whole or movement.

The two years spent putting the record together has resulted in a rich creative whole that rewards repeated listens: each time a new quack, rumble or bleep reveals itself; breezily self-assured stuff.

Come track ten one is more than happy to indulge and join in the ‘Waltz For Dean Stockwell’ – generous of them to donate such a beauty to him and equally generous to provide the soundtrack for a flouncing sway-a-long to its drifting cosmic entreaties.

There’s a manner of Screamadelica about all this – not in the sense of the occasional hippy-drippiness of that record, but rather in the confident, bar room swagger on display.

You probably do need this in your life, whatever your musical bent: it’s a curio, a delight and a start to finish success really; top notch stuff.

Words: Andrew Morrison

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