I worked with the TaxAct Assisted Help team to design the next iteration of their efforts to promote a new expert help service. Xpert Help connects the customer with a knowledgeable tax expert to help answer questions that can’t be answered by Google or TaxAct’s own general-audience documentation. An initial design had been launched to a small set of customer during the previous tax season, and the business was ready to take it to the next level as they planned to roll it out to all customers in the next tax season.
If ever there was a testament to giving an album a second chance, this is it.
I clearly remember finishing this record and thinking “Well, that was… meh,” but I can’t tell you why. My best guess is that I broke my own rule. Yeah, I have a rule, and it’s this: never listen to new music while deep in work. I made the rule for exactly this reason. If I don’t pay the requisite attention, it’s all too easy to glaze over greatness.
And there’s greatness on this, the band’s 5th and—by my estimation—best album. If you were going to listen to one, this is it. Huge Bummer Alert: right after releasing Hotel Insomnia, they announced that they’re disbanding. At least they’re going out on top. 😭
Like of lot of the best shoegaze acts, For Tracy Hyde mix it up with other influences, though on this album they sound as close to “classic” shoegaze than ever. It’s notable that Ride’s Mark Gardener mastered this record; that could account for the overall tone, for sure. It certainly sounds amazing—layered, full, and punchy. It could also just be an inevitability. Azusa Suga is the band’s primary songwriter, and The Internet credits him with writing songs for other very shoegazey acts like AprilBlue, dots, and RAY. If recent, that marinade could explain this more concentrated direction.