Review Summary: Swedish post rockers Scraps Of Tape release their sophomore album 'This Is A Copy', brimming with emotive punch and sonic drama.
In a genre that's ever frequently being labeled as tired and mechanical, fewer and fewer bands are given the chance to make a solid mark on the ironically impatient audience they target. Even this type of introduction to a post-rock review would now be seen as generic and perfunctory, but the sticky atmosphere that's being breathed heavily into the lungs of the unconscious post-rock everyman desperately needs a good filter. Scraps Of Tape do a damn good job, if not perfect, of restoring movement and life to the lethargic gorgon, with their second album, 'This is a Copy is This a Copy'.
In all fairness, this year has been fairly good to post-rock. Do Make Say Think released the superb 'You, You're a History in Rust', genre giants EitS produced their fourth album 'All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone' that while slightly unspectacular, gave fans a fix that only they could offer, and 65daysofstatic gave the post-rock charity a very generous contribution in the form of 'The Destruction of Small Ideas'. So what do Scraps Of Tape offer? Well, something else entirely. The Swedish quartet could not give a damn what the rule book says on the genre. They abandon pitiful reliances on climaxes, mix genres ranging from jazz to metal to samba, and leave you sweating over how your heart managed to jump out of your chest and force itself against your eardrums.
The record itself constantly manages to keep the drama alive, twisting and turning and weaving it's way through transcendent, heated affairs of noise and peace, joy and depression while still creating a sanctum of sonic bliss for the listener. The chugging riffs that open up the record on “Death as it Should Be” cause a strange, almost apocalyptic atmosphere, sort of, but not quite like that on GYBE!'s “The Dead Flag Blues (Intro)”. It's a surprisingly comfortable but heavy listen that mirrors the post-metal sound of bands like Isis. Despite it's melancholy introduction 'This is a Copy' gives it's second track “Hands In Air” a much more upbeat, easy listen. This joyous little melody acts almost like a decoy, keeping your attention swayed towards the pleasant, before the crushingly depressing “Pickpockets Vow”, a quiet, bleak track laden with somber, caliginous vocals which violently changes the mood of the album.
This ebb and flow of emotive aural waves, seeping into the sand of the listener's heart-shaped shore is what gives the album its meritorious strength. The albums highlight though comes in the shape of “Since All The Birds Are Moving, Shouldn’t We?”. This track is, for me, one of the best songs I've heard this year. Funnily enough, using the typical post-rock formula of quiet-loud, it succeeds in spinning a web of twisted emotion, which, towards the end when it becomes incredibly heavy, evokes a heart-rendering, split-cage template of scattered feeling. The next two tracks are also quite spectacular, transforming whatever curl you had at the tip of your lip into salty tears forming at the base of your eyes, using a combination of middle-eastern jazz, trembling guitars and fantastic drumming.
With the album ending on “Why Marcus Oh Why”, I got the feeling that I needed to review this album. I don't know why it reached me as much as it did, it isn't terribly original, though it is different, and at times it can be flat out boring. There are weaknesses to this album, it can try to be too epic, and it will probably not blow you away. But whether it was the constant stir of emotion and genre, the piercing, lachrymose ache of the vocals, or the admirability of a band from Sweden trying to cross boundaries, I don't know, but this album got to me in a way that few other post-rock albums have. Is this a copy? I don't think so.