We Thought It Was Okay At The Time (2013 2015)


aec.shlf124.2 1/13/17 New
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Review Text Since forming in 2012, Spanish duo Lost Tapes have released a steady stream of digital singles leading up to the release of their debut, Let's Get Lost, in 2016. Given their penchant for the dream pop and jangle pop of yore, it seems appropriate that these songs should finally get an old-school physical release. The resulting record is a collection of tracks recorded over three years. By their very nature, compilations that harvest material from a range of dates and differing stages in the development of a band can be rather scrappy affairs. But to their credit, Lost Tapes have crafted an exceptionally coherent collection, due to their absolute thematic and aesthetic commitment to the kind of music galvanized in the late '80s and early '90s by bands like the Pastels, the Vaselines, and Teenage Fanclub. Opening track "War in the Netherlands" delivers a direct hit of nostalgia via its twinkling guitar riffs and breathy, mellifluous vocals -- all of which may set off alarm bells for those with an aversion to music with even a hint of retrograde tendencies. That, however, would be a shame, as it's hard to argue with the perfectly formed, dreamy, sugar-rush melody of "Poetry Dates," executed with precision by these well-versed, passionate students of dream pop and shoegaze. And for the most part, they manage to keep it all surprisingly fresh. Where they do flounder is in the album's all-too-perfect veneer. Much of the charm of groups like the Pastels and the Vaselines is bound up in the sense that everything they do is very much homespun -- be that real or imagined. Although We Thought It Was OK at the Time sounds a little less refined and more relaxed than their debut, it's still too polished and unblemished. Consequently, it often lacks the ability to really get the blood pumping. That said, "Teardrops" quickens the pace a little with a classic "ahh ahh" chorus that is difficult to resist; "Blame It on Rio" toys with a more expansive sound, and "Moments Are Moments" is another high point that makes the best of its fey girl-boy harmonies that recall Belle and Sebastian at their most shimmering. Lyrically, the album wears its heart on its sleeve in simple but effective fashion, and their sonic consistency is such that its course is seamless. While spinning an old Pastels record might achieve a similar effect, it would mean missing out on some wonderfully wistful music to get lost in, and in addition, it's a perfect record to ward off winter dreariness. Lost Tapes should be commended for making an engrossing, straight-up, indie pop record -- it's a tricky thing to pull off. ~ Bekki Bemrose

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. War in the Netherlands - 3:38
  2. 2. All I Miss - 3:46
  3. 3. Rubber Bracelet - 4:37
  4. 4. Poetry Dates - 3:44
  5. 5. Lost in Youth - 4:30
  6. 6. Blame It on Rio - 3:05
  7. 7. Chances - 3:17
  8. 8. Skylines - 3:48
  9. 9. Teardrops - 4:40
  10. 10. Moments Are Moments - 4:46
  11. 11. Come With Me - 4:16
  12. 12. Slumber Party - 3:31
  13. 13. Raincoat - 2:21
  14. 14. By You - 4:04

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