Review: The Blank Tapes – ‘HWY 9’
By Walter Price
There is a certain reality when it comes to expecting to get one thing and receiving far more than you could ever have hoped for. In this case it’s the new epic album HWY. 9 from Matt Adam’s The Blank Tapes. 40 tracks, 10 years in the making and traveling roads far beyond and within what the world can count on from the prolific and sonically wanderlust mind of Adams.
What started out as a soundtrack for a sketched out character’s storyline and later combined with not so odd ‘oddball’ tracks added for the coolness of it all. HWY. 9 traverses the familiar 60’s/70’s AM pop lightness and then goes further with a dusting of techno, a faint country whisper, a little Hawaiian lullaby quaintness and courts Beatlesque far-outness and that is just a smidgen on what can be found. Every nook and cranny is subtle exploration in sounds. Like finding an old organ at a flea market and trying each tab and button until you get a sound combination that works or tweaks the senses.
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Here are just a few of the highlights; a three Matt tribute to the membranophone ‘Kazoo Song’, an oh so sweet 20’s style sing along ‘My Ladybug’, the chillin’ ‘Starry Skies’, perhaps one my faves ‘Humming Bird’ and as a guy who has never been a fan of instrumentals outside the Star Wars soundtrack or gems by Roy Clark, Dick Dale or Chet Adkin, what The Blank Tapes do on this collection are groovy segues. That’s right, if the shoe fits.
In a multi-directional creative sense, HWY. 9 is similar to what Beastie Boys did with Paul’s Boutique but with laid back California pop textures at the foundation then the interesting thrives from that point on. Pay attention Wayne Cayone and Thom Yorke, rockpop music just found itself a new classic.