Words: Aaron Connelley
Tigers of Junction Street, the self-titled debut EP from the recently formed London based band, leaves a lot to be said. Reading the bio that came with the tracks for me, I couldn’t agree more with some of the things that were said about the band and the musicianship that they possess. Yet other times I couldn’t help but laugh at some of the, well, crap that was clearly written by the publicist before he / she actually listened to the songs. But before I go into the music itself, I would like to look at the band and the musicians.
Tigers of Junction Street is a five piece band consisting of two guitarists, a bassist, a drummer and a singer. Each musician in his own right is remarkable and I would give an arm and a leg to play as accurately as they all can. In addition, I would love to be able to create some of the more musically complex ideas that they have with their combined skill. Sadly, however, the human ear doesn’t care about how technically complex the music is, it just wants to be entertained, or moved, or bashed repeatedly by a hammer – whatever your tastes are. I believe that this band has spent so much time trying to embarrass the rest of us musicians with complex things that they lost all originality and emotion in their playing, winding up with four songs which are exactly the same.
We start with the first and third songs, Incarnation and Cold Winter. Both songs use a heavy amount of multitracking which, at times, can be an almost dizzying experience to try and keep up with. The guitars are technically perfect in every note they play, as is the perfect drummer and the perfect bass player and the perfectly pitched singer. There is a suspicious amount of perfection in these songs on a technical level. However, neither of these tracks challenges the audience. They’re just loud and angry and lack all sense, with titles that in no way relate to the actual tracks. Both songs are built of an annoyingly typical structure, consisting of a monotonous riff that is more just extremely fast scales exercises rather than a riff and some multitracking over the top. In truth, it all reeks of Avril Lavigne when she was a bratty teenager in the early 2000’s. The chord progressions are all the same, much like the twelve bar blues in the 1950’s, the only difference being that the twelve bar blues was new and revolutionary when Chuck Berry did it. These guys are in no way new or revolutionary. The second track, The Deception, started with an intriguing compilation of sounds which kept me interested until the band came in doing the same formula as the other songs. Indeed, I was deceived to expect something interesting at the start. Very clever.
The beginning of track four, Interlude, was almost revolutionary compared to the previous three songs. It began with a warped wash of colours and sounds on a magical palette which made me mystified at the beauty and creative genius that this band had managed to create. I was extremely disappointed when it all ended a minute and a half later only to act as an introduction to track five, Closed Doors, which was exactly the same as the first three songs! In my notes I had so little to say I’ve made a nerdy comment about the sweet use of polyphony at the start of the track. The second section of the song was worth waiting for, however, despite the remaining stench of the 90’s lingering around it. I hoped that it would stay that way… but of course it didn’t. Thankfully though a third section was later introduced which incorporated the bands guitars with the Interlude and I was one again amazed and perplexed at the quality of music I was listening to. Thirty seconds later, it all ended again to go back into the same shite that the rest of the EP is made up of and quickly drawn to a much appreciated end.
Overall, this E.P is the sort of album you would listen to if you didn’t actually have any intentions of listening to it. It’s like an angry lounge pianist. It’s there, it’s certainly there, but it’s only there to fill the void and – now speaking as a lounge pianist myself – no one’s actually listening except for people who have nothing better to do. Anyone who loves Avril Lavigne’s early work will love this band but I also know that you could hire five of these bands for a penny and they would all sound the same, making this band one of a large market of bands with no work. I only presume that ‘Closed Doors’ is a reference to the bands future “musical career.”