TAPE TOY – The One Who Got Away

2000's zeitgeist updated for the nostalgia of 2021.

Photo: Fenna Jensma

Imagine forming a band because your school headmaster essentially “forced” you too. Crazy, right? Odd as the description doesn’t suffice that scenario. Yet, that’s essentially what happened with dutch quartet TAPE TOY (yes, in all caps), who presented us with their latest single, “The One Who Got Away”, just before the release of their debut record, “Honey, WTF” – coincidentally also out this week!

In “The One Who Got Away”, Roos (vocals and guitar), Wesley (guitar and vocals), Maurice (bass) and Marc (drums) present a tune according to how they describe their sound – “bubble grunge”. “Like Gwen Stefani but louder. Or Nirvana but happier”, it’s what these four 90’s kids have to say. And they are not wrong. The tune’s aesthetic is reminiscent of the times when Gwen Stefani was becoming a solo pop start, with the release of the great “Love. Angel. Music. Baby.” LP. It’s 2000s zeitgeist brought into 2021, but if TAPE TOY could make the mistake of finding themselves becoming a nostalgia bait, they craft their sound with enough self-identity they don’t run any dangers of being labelled that.

“The One Got Away” is led by its mellow, nostalgic guitars, accompanied by its driving rhythms, reminiscent of groups from the past like The Cardigans, but also contemporaries like beabadoobee or the very missed Her’s. Roos’ vocals shine above the instrumental, providing another layer of nostalgia during the verses, and giving the entry for the brilliantly built chorus to hit, toasting us with a perfect pop hook that will be hard to remove from your mind after listening to it.

And even if the instrumental might sound somewhat happy, what is being sung certainly isn’t. The lyrics provide the feels for the longing of a situation (a possible relationship, in this case) that just lives in an imagination somewhere. It provides a great contrast of feelings when combined with the soundscape of the tune, becoming a puree of full-on nostalgia blast. And for us, it’s a nostalgia we wish we could be stuck in for a good while.