Review Summary: Daniel Striped Tiger improves on the second full length, "Capital Cities", showing a flair for taking angular post-hardcore/punk and adding beautiful, calm sounds.
Imagine a plane of pure, white snow, completely barren and desolate of anything but yourself and the overpowering intensity of the cold and the landscape.
This is how Daniel Striped Tiger brings you into their latest album, Capital Cities, an intense mixture of sounds, combining jazz, punk, and the sounds of 80’s post-hardcore bands such as Rites of Spring, Frodus, and Fugazi.
By taking drifting, calm soundscapes and combining them with punk and off-kilter, angular guitar lines, Daniel Striped Tiger has created a listening experience somewhat akin to Life at These Speeds, Sinaloa, or even a calmer These Arms Are Snakes.
What sets Daniel Striped Tiger apart, however, is their willingness to expand their tilted post-hardcore/punk sound into a lush, expansive, and sometimes ethereal range of sounds. By doing this, DST has opened the album for more experimentation as well as the opportunity to be more adventurous further down the road, and created a far more interesting listen.
The first song “Shadow In the Snow”, is a cool and calm instrumental, conveying a sense of a wide open field of snow, setting a stage for the intensity of the second song, “Defense Mechanism”, a mid-tempo song featuring a winding guitar line and a very sudden silence, which slowly crescendos back up into the third song, “Flags and Capital Cities.
The title track is a 6 minute and 23 second epic, coming in right after the end of Defense Mechanism. Beginning with a distorted bass riff, the song leaps right into an intense assault of guitar, drums, and yelled vocals that doesn’t let up for nearly half a minute, until twin snaking guitar lines calm things down a bit. A minute and a half in, the songs feel changes briefly, vocals being accompanied only by a snare drum and a guitar line composed entirely of controlled feedback. The song continues in the quiet/loud dynamic style until the near 3 minute mark, when the track slows down, and then completely fades out, for 45 seconds, when the song turns into a slow, snare driven instrumental, giving a grand sweeping entrance for “Property Lust”, which is one of the most intense tracks DST has ever recorded, switching from angular guitar lines to double timed power chords and back again.
The instrumental “Summit” is a huge wash of cymbals and feedback, seemingly pronouncing the arrival at the top of a mountain, and preparing the listener for the erratic and crash cymbal driven “Disconnection”, a song in which both the music and lyrics fit the title of the song.
Capital Cities ends on a note of questioning, appropriately titled “People You Don’t Know”, full of lyrics that convey a loss of any knowledge of what this person’s life has entailed of up until this point, using lines like “Last winter my eyes would fold down and hit the ground/This place fell down/Everyone’s wrecked and hanging around”.
Being only Daniel Striped Tiger’s second full-length record, the album is still rough and the edges, both in production and in song structure, showing both the bands do-it-yourself budget and their newborn abilities to write longer and more epic songs.
All in all, Capital Cities is a stronger effort than “Condition”, DST’s first full length, and only shows an opportunity for more improvement in the bands songs.