Under Review: Miniature Tigers – Fortress

Everyone has their own story (or stories) about meeting a band or artist and, as a result, never being able to listen to that particular band’s music ever again.  Many of us who frequently encounter bands in intimate settings have found ways around ruining our idyllic images of them: some will make the simplest of chit-chat to avoid any potential offensive remarks, some (like Amanda Palmer and myself) will avoid conversation altogether.  Once in a very rare while, though, I’ll meet a band and fall in love with their music only afterward.  Such was the case with Miniature Tigers, with whom I got to record a session back in May when they were on tour with Free Energy and Jukebox The Ghost.  The band, expanded from a duo into a full quartet, had just missed my radar with their debut album, Tell It To The Volcano, though their name stuck with me as one to keep an eye on.  With the release of Fortress, Miniature Tigers have expanded on the already-fulfilled promise of their breezy debut.  Lead singer and songwriter Charlie Brand’s melodies and lyrical imagery are as strange and beautiful as ever, and the album’s production (almost entirely courtesy of The Morning BendersChris Chu) is light yet satisfying.

Of the ten songs on the album, the four songs they chose to perform for my session are undoubtedly the standouts.  The Neon Indian-produced “Gold Skull” is a bouncy slice of mildly electronic pop, while “Tropical Birds” echoes the more organic textures of Tell It To The Volcano.  Both “Bullfighter Jacket” and “Lolita” feature rousing wordless choruses, the latter finding the band imitating some of those aforementioned tropical birds.  Of the disc’s other tracks, the delicate “Dark Tower” and sunny “Egyptian Robe” most prominently feature the band’s creamy harmonies.  Closer “Coyote Enchantment” is one of the group’s more esoteric moments, but in a world where bands like Animal Collective and Grizzly Bear thrive, it’s not that outside the box once you put it in perspective.  Miniature Tigers will likely never get to the point where their fans would be intimidated by the notion of meeting them in person.  Not because they don’t have the potential to achieve that kind of success, but because nice guys like them just don’t act that way.

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~ by E. on July 23, 2010.

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