A most memorable new album

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Plain and simple: ‘Player Piano’ is a memory tape. It is a soundtrack to some kind of one-size-fits-all nostalgia: a hazy waft of summer sunsets, secret kisses, tiny smiles, soft heartbeats and softer heartbreaks. Mr. Memory Tapes, aka Dayve Hawke, channels all the youthful bliss of Passion Pit and Peter Bjorn & John, and adds a sepia-tone filter. The result is a synth-pop collection with a universal nostalgic pang: as Hawke puts it in the single ‘Today Is Our Life’, “this is our heart, this is our home”.

The two-part epic ‘Fell Thru Ice’ adds some emotional depth, providing a pivotal moment of reflection – like plunging beneath the surface of an icy lake and hearing the world above you carrying on; or leaving the party and hearing the muffled music and voices forget you like a dream. There are some questionable Americana guitar solos and the synth is a little paper-thin in places, but it all floats away on the breeze of the memory. While there is nothing overwhelmingly different or original about ‘Player Piano’, that is its charm: 14 tracks of memories and fuzzy nostalgia.


‘Player Piano’ is out through Inertia.