All The Best Tapes

Having previously reviewed Stoke 3 piece All The Best Tapes “The Gnar” record, I’m handed the unenviable task of the latest offering, the self titled “All The Best Tapes”. With an influence list like some kind of “music bible” it is no mean feat. Oh well, here goes!

The LP opens with “I Want To Believe”. The noodly intro only masks for some 20 seconds the inevitable shouty vocals. Shimmering guitars jostle with a shrieking, shouty vocal. How we are supposed to decipher the “lyrics” is anyone’s guess. The bridge is a tad experimental with those noodly guitars “showing off” once more. Those guitars however become frenetic towards the end and it’s a great opener.

“Nine Masks” has a truly great intro that promises much. The “speedball” approach however soon returns. The vocals, when they kick in are a pleasant surprise-all soft and mellow. It doesn’t last however and the screamcore of the chorus is all too familiar. This song goes off on so many tangents, it’s hard to keep up! I suppose that’s what keeps it interesting. Some token “growls” make an appearance but thankfully don’t overpower.

“Life of Gold” has a great intro and once again I’m getting excited at the thought of some “audible” vocals. Some great chord changes and some frenetic hitting run alongside a more distinguishable vocal. I’m still no wiser as to what the song is about though! I’m gonna go out on a limb and say there’s a strong “Justin Hawkins” (vocal) influence here, but don’t let that put you off! Once said vocal goes up a notch however, it is complimented by a classic Punk guitar sequence to the end of the song.

“Conservatoria in Threes” – aggressive from the outset! The low/soft-loud/shriek vocals confuses this reviewer – it’s as if the song doesn’t know what it wants to be! It’s a shame really as the guitars and drums are experimental to say the least. Confused? I am!

“The Iron Rod” begins shouty, a multi layered song with clever drumming and ever changing guitar parts. I just don’t get all the shouting – surely there must be a point at which we can decipher the lyrics? The middle 8 is soft by comparison, dare I say it “melodic”; matched only by the excellent “chiming” guitars to finish.

All The Best Tapes

On “New Ribs”, one word comes to mind-FEROCITY! Frenetic drums, coupled with intricate chord changes and an aggressive vocal that thankfully softens mid-song. Once again though the harsher vocal tones return. The last part of the song is ‘drawn out’ somewhat. I feel maybe this is one for the live arena.

“Soft Light” – there’s nowt soft here! A very hard and fast intro, interspersed with softer touches. I’m hearing hints of Colour of Fire’s Owen Richards in the vocal this time. Once again the whole “screamo” element cofuses me. There’s a wonderful bass part leading to those chiming guitars again; taking us to the end, although not without a touch of self indulgence.

This collection ends with the curiously titled “We Judged It By The Waves”. It’s like one long guitar jam. A fast, power-drumming intro alongside some loud guitars and more intricate chord changes. I’m aware the band want to finish with “all guns blazing”. This “instrumental” is all over the place, but clearly it’s deliberate. Chunky guitars and huge drums play out the end of the “song” but sadly it ends with a whimper.

All The Best Tapes

Line Up
Marcus-vox/electric guitar
Danny-drums/extra percussion/b. vox

I Want To Believe
Nine Masks
Life of Gold
Conservatoria in Threes
The Iron Rod
New Ribs
Soft Light
We Judged It By The Waves


Review by Ross A. Ferrone.

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