Inspector Tapehead’s new album is an odd electronic gem

Inspector Tapehead are a very modern band. With each of the trio’s members (Chris Croasdale, Jonnie Common and Roy Mohan Shearer) living in different cities across Scotland, new album So Solar was stitched together across the ether, a long-distance album built up from ideas traded over email.

After two years’ gestation, So Solar is out on Glint Recordings, based right here in Leith. Was it worth the wait?

With two instrumental pieces — the moody ‘PM Weft’ and farewell track ‘Waltz for Dean Stockwell’ — I think most people will pigeonhole this record as one of niche interest. That’s a pity because songs like The Cold Slipstream (a catchy, mid-tempo foot stomper which picks up at the end in classic Phantom Band style) and Soldier Boy (featuring backing vocals from Panda Su) are genuinely excellent pop songs, even if they are a little strange.

I especially liked the penultimate track — an atmospheric spoken word piece about the Inspector himself, in the third person — which left me wondering whether Inspector Tapehead are a band or a collective persona.