The debut EP from this New York band is an inspiration for the jaded... for those who don't have the patience or energy to traverse through the weeds. Founded upon beautiful melodic interplay between cello, analog keyboards (Farfisa and Moogs), drums, guitar and bass, Shoes & Rider should have a place in many record collections. There are plenty of those moments when the music hits those magical sweet spots that never seem to grow old. The arrangements imply that this is a hard working band. They're intricate and well thought out but not to the point of sounding sterile or too premeditated. The songs float along and make turns at just the right times, utilizing both dynamic and melodic shifts. It is mostly an instrumental affair with sparse vocals strategically weaving in and out when necessary. If comparisons must be made, I can see it on the same page as Red House Painters or a more ornamented Pedro the Lion. Guitarist and vocalist Mark Wyman recorded this EP and if you were never told it was done on a cassette 8-track you would never have guessed it. Somehow Wyman has managed to get an unbelievably clean and full sound out of his Yamaha MT8X. The clarity is amazing. We've all heard plenty of 2" 24-track recordings that don't sound nearly this good. Even the low end of the bass and cello sounds clear and warm and the high end doesn't sound in the least bit tinny. For basic live tracking, he used only SM57s and a CAD SA-70 condenser on the kick which he attached a cardboard funnel to in order to give it a more punchy attack. There isn't much studio trickery or experimentation going on here, it shines in its simplicity letting the writing and playing speak for itself. (Dutch Courage Records, 5407 S. Drexel #3, Chicago, Il. 60615,

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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