After a bit of touring about, East London band Tigercats return with Mysteries, a gentle, breezy and woozy selection of indiepop with some cute instrumentation and a great combination of vocal melodies from vocalists, Duncan Barrett and Laura Kovic which conjure the names of fellow indies We Were Evergreen and Cloud Control as fitting comparisons. The perfect soundtrack to stirring a steaming mug of tea from the warmth of the kitchen whilst looking out over the frost-white landscape.
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Indie-pop can perhaps sound the most primitive of the indie sub-genres, but there's a method to its naivety - it's not always easy to pull off with such conviction. Tigercats represent the kind of perfect pop that never fails to enamour me, so this review might be a little bit more hyperbolic than some people think it’s worth, but what the heck!
Mysteries is their first album on the ever-reliable Fortuna Pop! and it is crammed full of measured guitar pop gems and wonderful loud and quiet moments, with a pulsing pop heart at its core. There's a noticeable progression from the band's debut album Isle of Dogs. Here they sound more assured, both musically and lyrically - which might be in part down to Allo Darlin's Paul Rain's contribution to the LP, but I suspect that as they've matured - gained new experiences on tour with Wave Pictures and Allo Darlin - so has their sound (naturally). While Isle of Dogs retained a more jaunty and elemental, traditionally ‘indie’ guitar-pop formula that proved to be charmingly awkward and petulant, Mysteries is its more confident, sophisticated counterpart.
That’s not to say their lively spark has diminished, however. Distortion is aplenty, though not as heightened, and there’s is a new-found introspection present, especially on the downbeat brilliance of ‘Too Sad To Tell You’ and ‘Sleeping In The Backseat’ which, even at its most languid, has its hurried indie disco moments.
The album’s most prevailing moment is a toss between ‘Wheezer’ and ‘Too Sad To Tell You’, the former’s synth and brass inclusions add a contemplative warmth, while the latter exposes the band’s propensity for melody, nuance and accomplished guitar work.
Singer Duncan’s vocals are still a distinctive aspect, and it’s particularly lovely when it interplays with keyboardist Laura’s. Recalling some of the more softer moments of C86, with its wonderful bittersweet jangle, I can’t help but love it.
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