Release Date: 18th June 2021
Record Label: Blame Recordings
For Fans Of: Marmozets, Queens of the Stone Age, Gold Key
Despite the huge success Brighton’s Tigercub had with their debut album in 2016, it proved to be a bit of a false start. Although the band quickly followed up with 2018’s Evolve Or Die EP, momentum was lost as lead songwriter Jamie Hill found further success with Nancy, a solo project which took him around the world; understandably putting Tigercub on hold. Now in 2021, the band return looking to reclaim their seat at the table by serving up As Blue As Indigo, an incredibly varied record that showcases their ability to write arena-ready riffs just as well as writing interesting and dynamic songs. Royal Blood, take note.
What makes this such an interesting record is how Tigercub have cherry-picked elements from some of the biggest bands of the last twenty years, put them through a more more modern filter and managed to create something quite unique. ‘Sleepwalker’ and ‘Blue Mist in My Head’ are big songs written to try and fill big stages featuring a flawless production. Yet it feels like there is still an extra edge to the guitars and a loose slackerpop vibe that at times ties them to more contemporary bands like Turnover or Teenage Wrist.
There are even moments where they change things up completely. ‘Funeral’ shows their full confidence in executing a touching Elliot Smith-esque folk song in tribute to a friend who took their own life. Meanwhile the intro to ‘Built To Fail’ feels like it wouldn’t be out of place as an old school rock-opera overture before progressing into more familiar ground. In these moments it becomes clear that Tigercub are interested in being far more than just a band with fuzzed up guitars but instead are trying to push the genre into much fresher territory with a range of influences.
Truly one of the most impressive achievements here is how Tigercub manage to ease between these different styles so fluidly, especially within the same song. Within a minute of the opening track a softly sung acoustic ballad is instantly turned upside down by a rapturous descending metal riff that edges into more anthemic territory reminiscent of early Muse. If you’re looking to re-assert and re-announce yourselves to the world, there aren’t too many better ways to do it. This toying with dynamics is one of the most commonly used tricks of the record, but it’s kept fresh as the band always manage to put a slightly different twist. ‘Stop Beating On My Heart (Like A Bass Drum)’ feels like a more gradual and drawn out build so that when finally the drop comes it’s impossible to not imagine a festival main stage crowd losing its shit. Others like ‘In The Autumn Of My Years’ seem to shift so subtly that it’s only with repeated listens you realise how many different ideas they pack into such a short run-time.
Perhaps the only real critique to make of the record is that as good and interesting as a lot of these ideas are, there’s only a few occasions where the songs seem to really match up. The aforementioned ‘Funeral’ and ‘Stop Beating On My Heart’ are the absolute stand-outs in this regard, demonstrating both the variety and songwriting chops of the band, however aside from these, the rest of the record feels more filled with moments and a template of where Tigercub want to go.
Of course, on only their second album, Tigercub still have plenty of room to grow. However there are plenty of reasons to be excited about As Blue As Indigo, and it should be held up as showcasing the brilliant new directions which British rock is pulling in. It is a rare record that manages to do a large range of things very well. Hopefully, with a little more time and honing of these ideas, Tigercub could become unstoppable.
Recommended Tracks: ‘Stop Beating On My Heart (Like A Bass Drum)’, ‘Funeral’