The Republic Tigers
Keep Color


4.0
excellent

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
November 9th, 2011 | 28 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the previous decade’s lost indie gems.

Considering the way that modern listeners eat up accessible, all-purpose indie-pop, it comes as a bit of a surprise that The Republic Tigers aren’t more of a household name. After all, their Midlake-meets-The Shins demeanor provides them with the framework and versatility to craft both memorable song structures and killer tunes whilst frequently fusing the two traits together immaculately. The band’s ability to come off as resoundingly joyful yet poignant and resolute is a trait that makes them stand out amongst their peers. However, it is their nearly flawless songwriting that catapults their overlooked debut, Keep Color, to rare and unexpected heights.

The opening track ‘Buildings & Mountains’ is an appropriate lead off because it embodies all of Keep Color’s strengths. Its verses carry an air of mystery, and they build just slowly enough to maximize anticipation. The chorus comes crashing in a little after the one minute mark, revealing The Republic Tigers’ pop tendencies. Complete with thoughtful but inviting vocals, foreign sounding hums, and an impossibly catchy hook, the song is an embarrassment of riches that sends the listener off on a frenzied journey through the remaining eleven tracks. The magic is not lost henceforth, with the urgent, electronic-powered ‘Golden Sand’, the MGMT-styled chorus of ‘Feelin The Future’, the subtly uplifting ‘Weatherbeaten’, and the full-sounding acoustics of ‘Air Guitar.’ Other clear highlights include the bouncy, up-tempo ‘Fight Song’ and the incredibly atmospheric ‘Stranger to the Eyes of a Child-Man’, both of which uphold Keep Color’s keen tune sense despite what is otherwise primarily alt-rock/indie based instrumentation.

Another area in which the record succeeds is its consistency. Although it has been said before, it rings especially true here: there is not a single weak song on the album. Every song delivers an ideal blend of indie, folk, psychedelia, and pop along with rhythmic acoustic guitars, swelling synthesizers, and melodic vocals. Combined with multiple tempo changes and unpredictable twists and turns, Keep Color is one of those rare albums that is completely captivating for every minute of its duration. When the album slows down, it is thoughtful and brooding. When it speeds up, it is enthralling and memorable. With The Republic Tigers, it seems that pace is irrelevant because no matter how they deliver their material, you can rest assured that they will execute their performance at the highest level.

If there is a complaint to be made with Keep Color, it is probably that there is a sense of familiarity throughout. However, it never crosses the threshold into “too familiar”, seeing as The Republic Tigers are able to put their own unique spin on everything they do. From start to finish, this is one of the most immediately satisfying albums you will likely ever hear, and even though it has flown below the radar for the better part of the past three years, now is as good of a time as any to immerse yourself in its captivating simplicity.



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user ratings (15)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
November 9th 2011


15980 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Write-up is pretty short, but it needed a review. Here are some of the key tracks, for those interested:

Buildings & Mountains
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNlwkFayloM

Golden Sand/Feelin' The Future
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yq_TyM5tudc

Weatherbeaten/Air Guitar
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2GAdI36mY8



Digging: Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

klap
Staff Reviewer
November 9th 2011


10416 Comments


WHAT

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
November 9th 2011


15980 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

what?

klap
Staff Reviewer
November 10th 2011


10416 Comments


if your recced by reviewer are actually relevant i could see me loving this. although hey midlake's best album is van occupanther

CrisStyles
November 10th 2011


767 Comments


This finally got a review. Thank god.

iFghtffyrdmns
November 10th 2011


7047 Comments


oh this is that band that leaked those fake brand new demos right cool cool

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
November 10th 2011


15980 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@klappy: oh ok at first I thought I did something horribly wrong...and yes, I would say the recs are relevant. the vocals are similar to that of midlake's (from the perspective of someone who has had limited experience with them, however; there are a lot of Shins similarities that I don't think i need to explain, esp. in songs like Air Guitar and Made Concrete, MGMT comes up a few times esp. Feelin' the Future, and the Killers just cuz overall they sound kinda similar like 30% of the time

@Cris: Yeah I have been putting this off for too long. This is still shorter than I wanted it to be, but I kind of lost motivation midway through and cut it off halfway between a soundoff and a full review

@ifght: no silly. that's the republic of wolves, which stemmed from the folk band tigers on trains. THIS is the republic tigers! it's not hard! ; )

Esky
November 10th 2011


166 Comments


Played the first track and loved it. Nice review, short and sweet.

Did TRoW actually leak those tracks or were they just mislabeled on youtube or something? Love both of those bands so it makes sense that their namesake composite would be decent too.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
November 10th 2011


15980 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Glad you liked the song, IMO it's the most immediately catchy. But check out the whole album if you can, it is well worth the time. Also glad you liked the review, I'm tired and I have a head cold so I wasn't sure if what I was thinking was translating onto my computer screen very well.

I love how the name is a mix of those two bands as well. Even though it is irrelevant to everything haha

klap
Staff Reviewer
November 10th 2011


10416 Comments


will be getting this then

Spare
November 10th 2011


5306 Comments


oh christ 2008 is last decade now

Digging: Best Witches - Wishes

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
November 10th 2011


15980 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

klappy there are links in my first post if you want to get a taste

GulliKyro
November 10th 2011


357 Comments


I remember enjoying it, might be time for a revisit.

Phideaux
November 10th 2011


1654 Comments


I always get the whole Republic of Tigers/ Republic of Wolves/ Tigers on Trains thing all confused. Never listened to these guys. They're good on first listen.

cbmartinez
November 10th 2011


2525 Comments


i got buildings and mountains as like a free itunes single, it was awful

NateT
November 10th 2011


185 Comments


loving this so far

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
November 10th 2011


15980 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think it makes an excellent first impression, I remember thinking it could be a classic for the first month or so. But after a while its appeal slightly wears off...still great though, even then.

Kris.
November 11th 2011


12345 Comments


daaaaaaaang you actually reviewed it! thanks sowing :3

toxin.
November 11th 2011


12418 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Man, by 'last decade' I was still thinking the 1990s. Anyways awesome review and I really like the opening track (and hear the Shins influence)

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
November 11th 2011


15980 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yw kris, even before you shouted me this was always something I wanted to review

xtoxin, we seem to share a decent amount of taste in bands so i think if you checked out the rest of this, you'd love it



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