It’s hard nowadays for a debut album to really blow people out of the water, unless you’ve had success and backing from various media outlets. Twin Tigers have had a mild amount of press in that regard, but odds are the release of their album Gray Waves will have more people clamoring to find as much information on the group as possible. This record moves back and forth between several musical spectrums, often times within the same song; in following this formula the group has constructed one of the most creative straight-ahead rock records in recent memory.
From the moment you click play on your stereo, you get the feeling as if you’re in for something entirely special; the discordant noise sets an ambient tone before the drums and feedback squall shatter the sonic setting on “Passive Idol.” But, just as you expect a blistering number, Twin Tigers pull back, choosing to create a more melodious moment for listeners. Mathew Rain’s vocals seem to have some sort of echo in them, which makes him seem both haunting and dangerous. Either way, you can’t help but to fall into this record from the get go.
“Red Fox Run” recalls some of the mid-to-late career albums of Sonic Youth, in so much as it maintains a balance between using appropriate melody and blistering noise. Movement within the song is hard to ignore, and you can tell that thought went into every detail of the way the song unfolds. Similarly, “Everyday” grabs you right from the get go, using a summery underlying hook that borders on bubble pop. Still, waves of guitar noise remain in the background, and the chorus provides the perfect amount of angst that is necessary for pure rock songs. All this before the song blasts into another direction towards the ending, only to return to the hook featured at the beginning.
Yet, Twin Tigers are not a one-trick pony they refuse to rely upon their Sonic Youth tendencies, or Rain’s howling Jesus and the Mary Chain vocals. They’re capable of almost anything here, as “Gray Waves” suggests. If they ended at the midpoint, this would easily be a great song of typical indie pop such as Deerhunter, but they push beyond influences, forging new ground all on their own, as witnessed by the darker vocal performance by Rain near the end.
An aside that is necessary here is the performance of Dougie Crump. A steady drummer is a definite must if you’re going to construct mini-suites mid-song. You’ve got to have someone who can keep everyone on track by providing the perfect rhythm; Young does this spectacularly. On top of that, his work is magnificent in its own regard; his drum fills alone really flesh out the group’s sound as a whole. Cheers to that Richard.
All in all, Gray Waves is a remarkably refreshing debut. Angular guitars cut and feedback throughout the entirety of the record, all the while Rain tries to utilize his vocals to keep a hint of melody to the core of Twin Tigers. Not once can you deny the creativity and vibrance of this young band; they’re here to take their influences and build a world all their own. And, who knows, the way they cut and paste the sonic collage here shows they just might tear that world all to pieces, but odds are you’ll still love every minute of it.
Download: Twin Tigers – Everyday [MP3]