What an interesting record.
And that was all that was written in regards to Not A Game by Practice upon an initial listen through late last year. And it still holds true. Michael Tapper, the man behind the beats of so many modern marvels like Spill Gold, Bishop Allen and We Are Scientists to name a few is standing alone in the spotlight as Practice and the resulting debut full-length is everything you’d expect from a man with a resume like that and then some.
“The Afterlife” begins this subdued Electro journey, setting the stage for the rest of the hypnotic hymns to come with Tapper’s unique utterances playfully intertwining through all the beeps and boops (Obviously a technical term). We tackled “I Saw Love” in December and saw it as a revelation then. Still do. In fact you can read all about why when you click here.
“Wild Speculation” is s sonic security blanket and shares some DNA with We Are Scientists with the way the harmonies play out then transmorgifies into something even more wonderful as it speeds up and slips into a neat dancey drone. Meanwhile, “Can You Lie To Yourself” is a gorgeous synth-driven slower number soaked in ’80’s John Hughes touching moment goodness (Think of the museum scene in Ferris Bueller…) and then “Failure Of Imagination” takes the ball for that decade once again and runs with it, dipping into crime noir territory with the way the ersatz world created glistens and glows.
It feels like just the other day we were posting about how much we love when an artist has a song of their own name (Black Sabbath! Sacred Reich! Snot!) and then Practice comes along with their own anthem that’s fitting and epic which, of course, we love. As a flip to “I Saw Love”, Not A Game also offers “I Don’t Need Love” as a counterpoint with this beats-heavy, vocal effects-laden ditty bringing to mind early !!! (Chk Chk Chk, if you need it spelled out).
“You Don’t Believe In Accidents” is a thumping futuristic banger that would sound right at home in the world of TRON and “How Long” gets back into the slow grooves with massive walls of Electro akin to something heard in an echo chamber while “I’ve Had Enough” is that perfect ender you’d hope for from an album as special as this with heartbeat-like pulses humming their way out of the precedings.
Not A Game releases on February 19th. Pre-orders/Pre-saves are up now and can be perused and purchased by heading here or here. For more on Practice, follow the socials by clicking here, here, or here.