Tigers Jaw – Self-Titled

  • Bobby Gorman posted
  • Reviews

Tigers Jaw

Self Titled - Prison Jazz Records

When you get a CD from a genre of which you know very little about, it’s often rather difficult to review. Of course, if you hate it you’re often saved from that conundrum as you’re free to rip it apart and say exactly what you dislike about it. The problem comes when you realize that you actually really like this CD because then you want to describe what it is that makes you like it so much, you want to compare it to others and you want to properly dissect it. Unfortunately you can’t give your readers as much information as you would like because you don’t have that information teetering on the edge of your tongue. That’s the problem I’m faced with in regards to Tigers Jaw new Self-Titled album. It’s been compared to the likes of Pavement‘s Crooked Rain and Superchunk‘s No Pocky For Kitty; but not having ever heard either album makes it difficult to determine whether or not that judgment is true.

What I can tell you is that Tigers Jaw‘s Self-Titled album is a surprisingly calm, heavily distorted,rather mellow indie rock record. While not rippling with energy, the record slowly builds up on itself which in turns creates a sense of excitement. You get songs like I Saw Water whose chorus swells and pulls you in. There’s something about the layered vocal harmonies (which do appear on every track but seem so much more prominent on this track with the female vocals added softly in the background) that stands out. The Sun kicks off the album with a bright, upbeat and happy melody before they strip it down for the slow, steady chorus. I Was Never Your Boyfriend has a pop-punk edge while the following Meals on Wheels really uses the keyboard to their advantage. Although, don’t get disheartened – this isn’t your “I’m so happy” scenester keyboard melody. Instead its used to really cement and backup the guitar riff – to add an extra layer of melody that would be lacking otherwise.

But the thing that really makes this record so impressive is the little subtleties that plague it. You see, this record is insanely catchy without being in your face catchy. By that I mean you play it once and its alright. It catches your attention but doesn’t fully grab you. The second listen you pick out a few more moments and by the third spin you’ve somehow managed to memorize every chorus on the record. It creeps up on you and you don’t know it and on the fourth listen you’re actively singing along with parts of the song and you’ve never once opened up the lyric booklet (well, the lyrics aren’t printed in the booklet anyway so that wouldn’t have helped much). Tigers Jaw found a way to sneak up on you and implant their songs in your memory without you ever knowing and that is a feat worth noting.

There you have it though. A solid indie-rock record that is heavily distorted and incredibly catchy. It’s not always the most upbeat, does have a few filler and the vocals are a tad too nasally at some points; but it still remains a solid enough record to earn numerous plays over and over again.