Saturday, January 9, 2010

Tigercity - Pretend Not To Love (EP, 2008)

While animal names have flourished in recent times – Grizzly Bear, Panda Bear, Wolf Eyes, Deerhoof, Fleet Foxes, Animal Collective, and, trending back a little further, Cat Power – and have been a marker of ‘alternative,’ not to say art-school experimental, musical sensibilities, the ‘tiger’ moniker has mostly been spared this trend – and, indeed, outside of these stylings, Tigercity aren’t the only band for whom I have a lot of time to have made use of the panthera tigris (who now, sadly, number among the world’s most endangered animals) – cf. Tiger Baby. Also, while we’re playing the name game, the animal-city construction (that’s animal, not anorak) bears fond memories of Louis Sachar’s delightful Pig City – contrary to received wisdom, is it the case that, in the zoology of musical fauna, all animals are equal but pigs are less equal than others?

But I digress… Tigercity’s EP is a sparkling work of synthesis, bearing synth-pop, light funk and eighties electro influences lightly on its sleeve. Names to be checked would include Hall and Oates, and early Prince (particularly in the falsetto, which however is never shrill, but silky smooth), as well as revivalist acts like the addictive Chromeo, but what we have here is a work which maintains the crystalline pop sensibility and romantic preoccupations of these artists, but adds more than a dash of mystery and artiness (in the best possible sense, for want of a better word) – apparently, before their current incarnation Tigercity were postpunk revivalists, and this is still apparent in the spiky guitar textures and riffs which make their way into the fabric of the songs, as well as in the lyrical crypticism. This is a delightful combination which forms an EP that is heartfelt but not clichéd, easy but never simple, a sonic pleasure.

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