Tigers Jaw/Balance And Composure – Split

  • Keith Rosson posted
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Tigers Jaw/Balance And Composure

Split - No Sleep Records

These two bands are like fucking Mysterio – every time I think I’ve got a handle on them; they disappear in a puff of smoke. I really wanted to enjoy these bands, as I’ve heard nothing but good things about both – and yet….

Tigers Jaw does have an interesting vibe going on, with the vocals running somewhere between the frequently-deadpanned delivery of Matt Skiba coupled with some random Saddle Creek or Count Your Lucky Stars shoegazer. Meanwhile, the music comes across as the kind of drifting post-punk that wanders between thick, guitar-heavy production and ironic playfulness. Their half of the split reminds me of both The Bomb – Jeff Pezatti’s tepid new project – and a morose, barbiturate-laden younger brother of the Smoking Popes. Well-executed but lacking in strong songwriting; they can play their shit, but what they’ve written is just kind of there.

Balance & Composure fare better if only because they temper their brooding with a tad more energy and abandon – though I should mention they’ve got three guitarists, lending that much more potential for a controlled recklessness. Still, as a whole, compositions like “Kaleidoscope” and “Rope” sound like a battle-weary Young Livers trading skinny, eyebrow-splitting jabs with a much nicer emo pop band likeAutumn Picture or something. Meaning they come across as just a tad more ferocious (and focused) than their compatriots.

I keep finding both bands filed or mentioned as “pop punk” on various websites and find this totally baffling. The delicate interlude in Balance & Composure’s “Burden” is rife with indie pop leanings, and despite the fact that Tigers Jaw has some distortion-fattened guitars, their hooks are odd, buried ones ala Jawbox. When I think of pop punk, I think of bands with clear focus and a linear (though not necessarily simple) delivery.  Both of these guys come across as more directionless than that, or at least more obscured in their intentions. Ultimately, it feels like neither band really comes out swinging.