Bigger IS better, as Tigertown’s sophomore EP, Before The Morning, proves. The Sydney quintet produce rich and energetic music that falls into the folk, pop and indie genres. It’s a sprawling sound, or one you’d associate with cuts from a film soundtrack, because at some moments it is full of hope, while at other times it is about coming together to face adversity head-on.
The group are made up of one married couple (Chris and Charlie Collins) and they each enlisted the help of some siblings. They have cited their influences as including Ryan Adams, Johnny Cash and Fleetwood Mac; the latter group is particularly important to them because often when they are faced with a creative dilemma they ask themselves: “What would Fleetwood Mac do?”
Opening track, ‘Morning Has Finally Come’ is a positive and shimmering jewel; there are soaring, vocal harmonies that sweep as far as the ones Boy & Bear usually reach. The drums, meanwhile, drive a melodious song that is full of the kind of jangly guitars you’d associate with a Jinja Safari number, and is all about bottled up anticipation (and light, it seems).
‘Lions & Witches’ is another strong track, this time set in a fantasy world where C.S. Lewis is the main source of inspiration. The harmonies are rather delicate as the piano paints a dramatic picture. It’s also full of robust horns and what you’d get if you placed the Skins theme song in another world, most likely outer space.
The feelings of escapism continue into ‘All We Stand On’; this time it’s about two people stranded in an Arabian desert. These trials are a metaphor for the general feeling of being lost. At times the vocal delivery makes the music sound almost hymn-like, and is reminiscent of the quote by John Lennon about The Beatles’ song, ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’. At the time he wanted his voice to sound like “The Dalai Lama chanting from a mountain, miles away” and the strong sensations and roaring from beyond are the key here. It’s something that is also reprised in ‘Monsters’, AKA a celebration of childhood kick-started by the book, Where The Wild Things Are.
Before the Morning is a polished collection of tunes where folk and pop is fused into something that is personal, relatable and fun. These five gems are like diamonds, shining in a large, open landscape. While the sheer depth of the plains would overwhelm some, nothing is a trouble when you’re in as good company as this, because their weapons are like mature, opulent and well-crafted pipes of peace.
Originally published on 22 November 2012 at the following website: http://thedwarf.com.au/album_review/before-the-morning
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