Tigercub returns with their first album in five years, having given us the Evolve or Die and Repressed Semantics EPs in the time between and we can tell by those last two releases and their time away that they have been crafting something truly spectacular.
We’re given the illusion of a soft beginning as the title track leads us through a foreshadowing of the record’s themes with a delicate guitar melody and the elusive opening line, “Light is only measured by the lens of your eye, time is only measured by the length of your life.” However, as will become more apparent throughout this record, Tigercub crash through with something that’s bigger than Radiohead surprise dropping their next album in the form of a grueling, relentless riff that wallows through the remainder of the track.
One thing I realised early on is how optimistic the music sounds on this record. There’s something really uplifting about the way the band is delivering the story. Throughout its entirety, the record explores Jamie Hall’s own personal issues, anxiety, depression, toxic masculinity, the death of his grandmother, and the recent suicide of a close friend which makes this a richly thematic album that allows the lyrics to cut through without harming the foundation or structure of the music. The music and lyricism together are a powerful and unique combination in their own right. They have all of the components to appeal to an incredibly wide range of audiences. There’s intrigue scattered throughout every song that keeps your ears tuned in but every single track has that distinct memorable quality.
Hall mentioned the way this record was crafted at the very beginning of the UK’s first national lockdown and how it gave their recording process an end-of-the-world feeling. This really shines through on Stop Beating On My Heart (Like a Bass Drum), Built To Fail, and In My Autumn Years as a recurring theme that sits parallel to the twinkling Chimes dispersed throughout. It’s these thematic and musical elements that impressively tie this music together into one powerful, cohesive body of work.
Funeral was a song that stood out to me because it was so unexpected. The jarring contrast between Stop Beating On My Heart (Like a Bass Drum) and Funeral is something that shouldn’t work on paper but they’re so different from each other that the transition is almost seamless and, in hindsight, absolutely perfect. The wash of the nylon guitar accompanied by the duo of string lines is something truly heart-wrenching. You can hear how delicate Hall’s voice is throughout this song, he’s barely singing, giving just enough to push the notes through. It highlights the emotive core that the song revolves around.
Throughout the record’s second half, it was clear that it was considerably more relaxed and that it harnessed something more experimental as the band played around with more textures, layers, and ideas. It’s refreshing to hear, especially before they return to more familiar elements in the album’s closing tracks. The way Built To Fail’s ‘Alice In Chains/Nirvana’-esque harmonies sit over the instrumentation as it builds towards the harrowing bridge that bursts through into the finale of the song is an incredible peak and especially warranted for the longest song on the record.
One thing I really loved about As Blue As Indigo was how incredibly tight the grooves were on it. Almost every song had a danceable quality but a euphoric beauty to it at the same time. Songs like Beauty harness a lot of the elements and themes that this record holds whilst digging up the best of their past selves and overloading the power of the album’s swagger. It should go without saying as well that the QOTSA influence throughout this album is clear but has been manipulated and recycled in such a way that Tigercub have absorbed it into their sound and made it something unique of their own.
In My Autumn Years draws the album to a close. It’s a euphoric number that reminisces the shining elements of genius on this record. It brings force, groove, the experimental nature of the album’s midsection, and throws it all at the listener in one last hurrah as the band descends into a haunting outro that acts almost like a dead-stop realisation as the chimes return and the listener is left to bask in awe of the incredibly bold and varied range of sounds this record harnesses.
It’s hard to strike a balance like this in just over 35-minutes but the stark contrasts that Tigercub presents throughout this record are so refreshing, impressive, and beautifully executed that they pull it off without breaking a sweat. I’ll be really interested to see how this translates into a live setting but I can imagine that after harnessing this record for almost 18 months, the energy from this record will only be elevated when it’s contained in intimate venues across the country.
As Blue As Indigo is out on Friday 18th June. Visit tigercubtigercub.com to pre-order and buy tickets to their upcoming Nov/Dec 2021 UK tour.
Words: Max Lilley