Review – “Split Tape” – Diamond Mind and Lab Coast

Screen Shot 2015-12-26 at 10.29.50 PMreviewed by Lisa Wiklund

Fake Tape, Blank Tape and now Split Tape. Although the three albums may appear to be apart of a series, Diamond Mind’s latest EP is a direct departure from their first.

While only two songs off the EP are from Diamond Mind, it is enough to affirm the band’s more solidified musical direction. While Fake Tape played with electronic sounds, Blank Tape firmly established the guitar pop/alternative vibe that is continued throughout Split Tape. In many ways, Split Tape is a declaration of the band’s aesthetic and maturity.

Diamond Mind’s opening track, “My Rocket Summer,” is bound to have listeners humming the chorus long after the song has ended. While the track may appear fairly straightforward upon first listen—your classic catchy hooks and vocal harmonies—additional listens reveal different layers and complexities. Use of the saxophone, by Edmonton native Mitchmatic, coupled with a sprinkling of percussion makes for a song that is guaranteed to start a wicked dance party.

“NGC7293” starts off much differently than “My Rocket Summer,” with a heavier emphasis on synth and electronic sounds. Yet as the song progresses, Diamond Mind’s signature guitar pop becomes more obvious. The track is reminiscent of the band’s previous albums, yet simultaneously communicates the fresher style of Split Tape.

Not to be forgotten however, is the other half of the EP from fellow Alberta natives Lab Coast. Similar in genre to Diamond Mind, Lab Coast puts a greater emphasis on stand-alone instrumentals to create a less-hurried feel.

As the stronger track of the two, “Wish Were Anywhere/Life Groupie” is like a fuzzier version of Cake‘s deadpan vocals mixed with a hard-hitting beat. Similar in sound is “Run Out/Black Underwear,” with the majority of the track appearing as if it could be a continuation of its predecessor. The last instrumental quarter however, although seemingly separate from the rest of the track, is a refreshing addition that keeps listeners engaged. In combination with songs from Diamond Mind, Lab Coast contributes to an EP that is balanced and full-bodied.

Both Diamond Mind and Lab Coast, via Split Tape, have strengthened a sound that is distinctly their own. Diamond Mind’s Britpop, upbeat feel and Lab Coast’s more laid-back, mellow vibe combine to make an EP that is both relevant and unique to the indie music scene. Ultimately, Split Tape’s quirky lyrics and youthful themes makes for an album that is bubbly and easy to enjoy.

Top Tracks: “My Rocket Summer”; “Wish Were Anywhere/Life Groupie”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)

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