Sunday, January 18, 2009

Review: Miniature Tigers - Tell It To The Volcano (* * * *)

After posting a bit about Miniature Tigers a couple weeks ago, I decided I needed to hear their debut album, Tell It To The Volcano, as soon as possible. The record was released last year digitally and will be getting a proper physical release soon, but I wanted to write this review while the excitement of hearing the songs was still fresh in my mind. "Volcano" is a light-hearted, fun album full of pop hooks and clever lyrics that is especially refreshing in the midst of so many self-serious indie bands out there today.

Starting things off is the first single, "Cannibal Queen," an extra-catchy album highlight about singer Charlie Brand's attempt to find love with a good girl. The band also shine especially bright on the bitter, yet humorous title track which presents an interesting (and primitive) look into getting over that previously special someone. Brand has a quirky way of describing what could otherwise be very familiar and normal situations, like experiencing a change of heart, "I'm no longer on a quest to get girls undressed" or post-break-up depression, "I listen to Tchaikovsky and cry, pour myself a glass of red wine." Yet, even has he slings clever phrases and odd metaphors, he manages to seem relatively sincere about the subject matter.

Elsewhere, Miniature Tigers get mopey ("Annie Oakley"), territorial ("The Wolf"), and creepy ("Like or Like Like"), but if you're not paying close attention, you might just assume they're throwing a 29 minute, low-key party. The music on Tell It To The Volcano feels effortlessly ear-pleasing with a fun blend of acoustic guitars, various keys, and well-placed vocal harmony that keeps a good pace and never overstays its welcome. Brand may have a sharp wit, but his melodic hooks are sharper; he's hurt, he's angry, and maybe a bit unstable, but he's not about to let that get in the way of a good time.