Black Tape for a Blue Girl

A Teardrop Left Behind

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Though an import, Teardrop remains the best place for a Black Tape neophyte to begin investigating the band's earlier records, collecting from the first four albums a good number of their most striking tracks. Unlike the sometimes open-ended atmospherics of the regular studio records, the focus here tends toward the more immediately catchy songs -- though this itself is a loaded term, since Rosenthal is hardly writing pop hits -- featuring Herrera, Kenny-Smith, and Towns' vocals. "The Scar of a Poet," from Ashes, leads off the collection, here being something of a manifesto for Rosenthal's work, as well as a good way of showcasing Herrera's strong, light-sounding baritone. Key tracks like "Across a Thousand Blades," "How Can You Forget Love?," "Ashes in the Brittle Air," the title track, and "Seireenien Lumoama" are all present, along with one then-wholly new track, "The Turbulence and the Torment," featuring a solo Rosenthal performing one of his self-described "slight vocals" (though this one in particular is actually quite fine, very soft and low-key, fitting the song well), along with his patented layering of electronic washes and moods. As "Turbulence" then turned up on This Lush Garden Within two years later, completists are advised to seek that out if they have all the earlier albums already.