Monday, September 23, 2013
The New Tigers - The Badger
For several years I have been impressed with the quality of the pop music produced by bands from Finland. The current population of the country is less than 5.5 million, yet albums by three Finnish bands (Cats on Fire, The New Tigers, Black Twig) made my top 50 albums last year (list). One of those bands, The New Tigers, is back with their sophomore LP, The Badger. And I project that this album will be in my 2013 top album.
Those of us who are fans of The New Tigers can celebrate that the band did not change their approach in crafting The Badger, although it seems to me that there is a bit more discipline in the performances and sophistication to the songwriting. As is the case with many other Scandinavian guitar pop bands, there is plenty of jangle with their harmonized vocals and engaging melodies. But the distinctive features of The New Tigers are the infusion of goodly amounts of fuzz into the mix, as well as the structure of the songs. The band does not subscribe to the under-three-minutes approach to pop songs. Three of the nine tracks on The Badger exceed six minutes, with one running almost eight minutes; three more exceed four minutes and the shortest is 3:12. But this is no jam band. The longer tracks feature interesting instrumental segments and/or changes in tempo and style. And another distinction is that The Badger is not the place to look for weepy ballads; this band thrives on energy.
I was sold on the album based on the first and second tracks, "Where Is It" and "Secondary City". They are the sort of indie pop perfection that always brings joy. Track three, "Antarktis" does not disappoint, and the following "Don't Know Where to Go" is one of the best songs on this album, and was immediately transferred to my top songs of 2013 playlist. "Blue Fell" is a gentle, slow tempo song.
The final four tracks include the two songs we've provided below -- "Remote Control" and "Quicksilver". The former is a surging, fast, rhythmic pop song with a dominant bass line. The sprawling of "Quicksilver" features warm pop vocals and jangling and ringing guitars. Of the two, Quicksilver probably is most like the other tracks on the album. "Mercury" and the closer, "Gentle Rock" are mid-tempo dream pop songs, although they also have the trademark Tigers shifts in tempo and style.
The Badger is the sound of a band growing up in fine style.
The Badger is out now on Helsinki's Soliti label, and is available on CD, vinyl and digital download.