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The Boston Globe

Music

Album review | Electronic pop

Memory Tapes, ‘Grace/Confusion’

In the fields of indie-dom, the trench dug between “pop” and “prog” lies somewhere around the six-minute mark. Solos and signature shifts are no longer prerequisites of the latter; just sticking to an idea until it changes qualifies as progressive behavior. As such, the six songs on Dayve Hawk’s third full-length as Memory Tapes feel like buoyant pop and weighty statements all at once. “Sheila” unfolds over eight minutes, and the gradual changes in its lighting — from soft-focus Fleetwood Mac to flood-lit Pet Shop Boys — come off as scenic, not histrionic. The jaunty “Thru the Field” swerves dreamily between the explorations of Bear in Heaven and the excavations of Boards of Canada, then literally leaves the path to run off into the rain. Sometimes this tension between craft and abandon backfires: “Safety” opens with the promise of showcasing Hawk’s unique control over curveball melodies, but its parts never quite emulsify. Still, “Grace/Confusion” goes above and beyond the call of pop, and signals grander adventures to come. (Out now)

MICHAEL ANDOR BRODEUR

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