Memory Tapes – Player Piano (LP 2011)

New Jersey based producer Davye Hawke has moved on from the chillwave vibes of his 2009 debut Seek Magic to a more poptastic sound that is firmly entrenched in the forlorn sentiments of romance gone awry.

Memory Tapes latest release Player Piano is a glorious mix of upbeat electronic pop and scathing lyrical quips that takes the listener on a journey through the emotional schizophrenia that occurs when a relationship breaks down. Hawke’s soundscapes vary from sparse and indifferent to bright, layered melodies. All of which possess a melancholic undertone that seems to emanate from the oblique vocal delivery.

Introductory track “musicbox” sets the tone of innocent, idyllic nostalgia before the dreamy sun kissed synth of “Wait In The Dark” takes over where Hawke muses “so what do you want me to say, I just don’t feel like that anymore. This is how it ends, we just stand each other up”. Single “Yes I Know” is a stripped back affair that features an hypnotic drum line and floating, ethereal vocals that lend the track a spooky, love swept vibe. “Sunhits” is pure pop perfection, with simple melodies that sport a positive disposition, that is in stark contrast to the lyrical content, with Hawke singing “life is a dream if you never wake up”.

Memory Tapes puts an interesting spin on love song’s where the lyrics seem to be written from a glass-half-empty perspective but the music itself is joyous in it’s conception, which has resulted in quality uplifting electronic pop that is rife with longing, self-loathing and desire. Player Piano is a fantastic release that showcases Hawke’s production prowess with dance worthy tunes that also engage on an emotional level.

Review Score: 8/10

Player Piano will be released on Pod through Inertia on July 1st.