The Earthly Frames are not known for putting out accessible music. Taped Over seems at first to break with this convention, offering some straightforward, melancholy Americana. The lyrics and title focus on a pre-digital, Younger era. The music, too, doesn’t veer far from the folk-rock formula of banjos, mandolins, harmonica, and Nashville-sounding baritone guitars that were popular in the 1970s and again in the 1990s.
However, on closer listen, those heady Sci-Fi-esque metaphysics from the ‘Frames previous materials are still there. On the opening track, “My Worst Self,” the singer is not just referring to a bad day, but in its dedication to a “v875,” it seems to actually be talking about an Earth-616-style alternate universe self. In “Pixels,” Walsh’s shrill and affected voice notes to the ever-present screen molecule, “It’s a funny little world you’ve got yourself rendered here.” The title track, too, seems not to talk about a nostalgic VHS mishap but about aging and identity, “A plank to the head, on the ship of Theseus, hull marks obscured, we taped over them.” Yikes.