State of Mind: The Blank Tapes – Sun’s Too Bright
State of Mind
The Blank Tapes – Sun’s Too Bright
by Ryan Lowell
Many of the steps in Matt Adams’ musical recipe are pulled directly from the lo-fi singer-songwriters’ cookbook. He records predominately by himself, he uses an 8 track cassette recorder and he is perpetually releasing new material. In fact, he has released a new 7″ since I started writing this review and a full length follow-up is already slated for release in early 2013. Adams’ recording techniques connote unfinished demos recorded in a basement, but the brand of psychedelic rock displayed on Sun’s Too Bright sounds carefully crafted and fully developed.
As the primary creative force behind Blank Tapes, Adams could have easily released Sun’s Too Bright under his own name, but his songs are consistently populous enough to warrant a proper band name. Sun’s Too Bright reaches far beyond the acoustic guitar limitations of ordinary solo artists, adding touches of trumpet and tambourine to the classic electric guitar-drums-bass setup that typically requires a full studio of artists. The album sounds more like a friendly beach party collaboration than one guy and a cassette recorder.
Adams’ vocals play a supporting role on the album; a quarter of the tracks on Sun’s Too Bright are instrumental and other songs like “Killer Bee” repeat the same vocal throughout. With lyrics on the backburner, Adams has room to display his multi-instrumental talent. This results in material like “A’bergine,” a song that on its surface is an ode to eggplants, and underneath is a window into Adams’ fuzzed out slice of California living. The instrumental tracks are also excellent when it comes to conveying specific moods, like “Friday Afternoon,” the laid back soundtrack of a guy with the whole weekend ahead of him and plenty of new songs to play. The songs of Sun’s Too Bright are instantly catchy, and it’s not hard to imagine Adams finding pop success if he is looking for it. But whether or not Adams reaches wider audiences in the future, it’s worth checking out Blank Taps now if you want a steady stream of trippy garage rock that’s always homespun and never half-baked.