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Tigers Jaw - spin (Album Review)

Tuesday, 20 June 2017 Written by Jennifer Geddes

‘Charmer’ was such a positive step forward for Tigers Jaw that it's hard not to feel like ‘spin’ is one back. The former was full of catchy pop-punk melodies, interesting hooks, fuzzy guitars and stacks of harmonies, but it was the last to feature contributions from guitarist and vocalist Adam McIlwee, bassist Dennis Mishko and drummer Pat Brier.

These days Tigers Jaw are a duo - with Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins taking the reins - and while they try their hardest to fill in the gaps, they fail to recapture their bite. Interestingly, this is also the first release on the new Atlantic Records imprint Black Cement, which is run by Will Yip, the producer behind ‘Charmer’ and ‘spin’. Having built up a reputation thanks to his work with bands such as Title Fight, Turnover and La Dispute, he could now find a larger audience for them. This is an uneven start.

Walsh and Collins have decided to take the band back to its origins and draw influence from their earliest albums. As a result, the aesthetic here is more sparse and simplistic.

Yip’s fingerprints are all over the album, but with a limited palette it’s hard for him to attain the contrast between the heavy instrumentation and the soft harmonies that made ‘Charmer’ so attractive.

The best track on the album, June, is a song about a friend of Collins’ who was in an emotionally abusive relationship. In contrast to its dark topic, it has a contagious melody. The rest of the album, though, suffers from a lack of ideas.

Most tracks follow a similar format, with a pop-punk chorus backed by indie-rock tones and vague lyrics referring to some kind of emotional torment. Many times they resort to platitudes. On the opening track Follows, Walsh sings: “Behind glass I was frozen like time / In a memory you can't get away from.” And later: “Worried mind like a camera lens/ With no clarity left for the picture / Filter out what I want to forget.” Similarly, on Favourite: “It's like I'm drowning in your waters again / Why abandon the ship with so much left to save?”

With the Hotelier, Modern Baseball and Sorority Noise making heartfelt and bold albums in recent years, if the majors are looking towards emo-revival in terms of greater commercial viability it’s hard not to think that maybe they are, yet again, missing the point of a genre.

Tigers Jaw Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri August 18 2017 - SOUTHAMPTON Joiners
Sat August 19 2017 - BRIGHTON Haunt
Sun August 20 2017 - LONDON Garage
Tue August 22 2017 - GLASGOW Stereo
Wed August 23 2017 - MANCHESTER Deaf Institute
Thu August 24 2017 - CARDIFF Globe

Click here to compare & buy Tigers Jaw Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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