After the somewhat overcooked Walk It Off, Tapes ‘n Tapes walked away from their XL deal, letting it expire so they could record their third album, Outside, in their Minneapolis hometown and release it on their own Ibid label. This back-to-basics approach suits the band’s tried and true indie sound -- though they’re not quite as raw as The Loon, Outside’s songs are direct while still leaving T'nT plenty of room to play. “One in the World”'s mischievous percussion and brass reflect how revitalized the band sounds on the album, along with “Badaboom,” which opens the album with rhythms so nimble it would be easy to mistake it for a more down-to-earth Vampire Weekend song. Peter Katis mixed the results of the band’s recording sessions, and he makes sure Tapes ‘n Tapes' urgency and whimsicality are in perfect balance, as on “SWM,” where sparkling keyboards dance around Josh Grier's rasp. More importantly, the bite has returned to the band’s rockers, particularly “Desert Plane” and the galloping “Freak Out.” T'nT still run into some trouble when they slow things down, as on “Outro” and “Hidee Ho,” both of which are just saved by blistering solos, but songs like “On and On” and “Mighty Long” show that they’ve rediscovered what made them vital. Neither as rough as The Loon nor as smooth as Walk It Off, Outside is the best place for Tapes ‘n Tapes to be.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares