The Imaginary Symphonies Continue All Through the Night
Those familiar with The Music Tapes will be pleased with their latest release, Mary’s Voice. The album continues on lone member Julian Koster’s Imaginary Symphonies series, acting as an evening interlude, though more settled than a night on the town. In composition, many of the songs have the urgency of a circus performer and rolling progressions abound in a merry-go-round fashion. “Spare the Dark Streets” is a dreamy lullaby, leading into the the sleepy, twee “To All Who Say Goodnight.” As per usual, the Music Tapes have wrangled up an arsenal of idiosyncratic instruments: saw and calliope shine on their namesake track, “Saw and Calliope Organ on Wire,” while banjos, accordions, and distant drum kits dot the soundscape of countless others throughout the album.
Mary’s Voice feels at times like a choose-your-own adventure album; something to be played straight through, then shuffled about. It would at least make more sense for both “Intermissions” to be found in between actual songs, rather than stacked together. Same goes for the forgettable interlude of “Untitled,” a short singing saw piece that could have been feasibly placed anywhere in the album, maybe even as an introduction to the entire album. Closing track “Takeshi and Elijah” is distant and yearning, acting as somewhat a cliffhanger of an ending.
If you’re already a fan, this will sate your palette til the next release. Those in love with the lo-fi charm of experimental indie a la Neutral Milk Hotel and Elephant 6, both of which count Koster as a member, should definitely add it to their collections. Place the needle down, draw the shades, relax and drift off.