Melbourne band 2 Inch Tape spun to life in 2013, on a paddock adjacent to a tea tree farm near Byron Bay. Band founder Simon Rigoni was stirred from a fifteen year musical hiatus after a three day immersion in live music, culminating in what was to be an epiphanic performance by American band Wilco. The experience was a catalyst that would inspire Rigoni to write songs again and to form 2 Inch Tape.
Fast forward to 2018 and 2 Inch Tape presents their third full length album, Apollo. Rigoni and key collaborator Fiona Broussard (keys and vocals), have teamed with regular alumni; Daniel van Horssen (drums), Mark Petrilli (organ) and Greg Milton (pedal steel guitar), while calling on the services of some of Melbourne’s most respected musicians; Anita Quayle (cello), Jen Andersen (violin) and Craig Kelly (bass). The result is a refined and confident offering that builds on the risks of their first two albums, New Addiction (2015) and Control (2017).
At its core, 2 Inch Tape adheres to an aesthetic of yesteryear; real instruments played with an authenticity that is often abandoned in our technology-enabled times. Listening to a 2 Inch Tape song, a sense of musical ease is rare. Whether it’s Simon’s voice, the arrangements, or the lyrics, the listener is presented with a struggle, a challenge, and denied the reassurance of anodyne turnarounds and expected cadences.
Influences are plentiful and layered. Listeners might catch the aural space of Nick Drake, swagger of Cave, Bowie glam, PJ Harvey subtleties or a tagline reminiscent of Iggy Pop. Genre norms are dispelled via the crafted arrangements of strings, horns, vocal harmonies and grand piano merging and alternating to adorn a solid rhythm section. With such an array of instruments and personalities at their disposal, 2 Inch Tape is free of traditional confines, and wields this musical freedom with relish.
Rigoni sings of loss, immortality, and more loss. And while he did indeed lose fifteen years, he is now making up for that time. Apollo is set for release in October 2018.