When I first encountered Austin’s Tiger Waves, I was caught off guard by their experimental inclusion of bits of noise that eventually shifted into snippets of grandiose pop. However, on their recent release, Don’t Be Yourself, the band tends to switch it the other way around–clearly indicative of a band who have grown in their songwriting capabilities.
“From the Start” begins with a bit of a noise snippet, but the impressive forcefulness of the track quickly breaks into full stride. Personally, I like how the lyrics are hiding just a bit behind the music, almost like the classic rock we all grew up jamming to in our parents living room, and then it ends. But, the motif of classic songwriting comes in with the hints of psychedelia that are present on “Quebec.” Perhaps it’s just that jangling tambourine and the affected vocal that gives it the San Francisco effect, but it fits perfectly with the mood of the entire album.
When Tiger Waves breaks into “I Hope You’ll Feel Alright” you can tell that the band has abilities beyond just living with their influences; they’ve created their own sound with fluid movements amidst many of the tracks. Here, you get almost a quieted chant from the get go, but the lurking backing vocal seems to make way for the entire group to make some mono-syllabic noise in unison. And this is where you’ll find Don’t Be Yourself really taking hold of listeners, as the record moves into “Summer.” It’s the sort of constructive pop that recalls bands like Youth Lagoon or Ducktails, but only done more effectively since they’re utilizing the songwriting of an entire group in the studio. Layering the vocals atop the music on this track definitely creates special moments that you won’t want to miss.
As Tiger Waves prepare to wrap up the whole affair, they close things out with the perfect juxtaposition of their unique sound. Of course, “I Love You George Harrison” surely harkens back to the careful craftsmanship alluded to in the song’s title–and I’m sure it would make George proud. But, then you end Don’t Be Yourself with the hauntingly brilliant “Underground.” It’s the quiet atmospheric touches, mellow pacing and steady dosage of pop writing that initially drew me to this band; it comes full circle as the band closes out this EP, going out in quite a fashion.
Hopefully this isn’t your first introduction to Tiger Waves, but if so, do yourself a favor and spend some time with the group’s music. If Don’t Be Yourself is anything with which to judge these young lads by, then they’ll probably be around for some time, hopefully writing more great tunes such as these. You can grab this EP, as well as other great tunes by visiting the band HERE.
Download: Tiger Waves – Underground [MP3]