Review Summary: Four more Tigers Jaw songs.
Tigers Jaw is a consistently good
band. Apart from their debut LP, Belongs to the Dead
(which sounds like it was recorded on an answering machine), they have cranked out one solid release after another, each containing indie tunes tinged with both emo and pop punk. Their popularity is understandable because, lyrically, they are the voice of a generation of awkward teenagers and melodramatic Tumblr users. In all seriousness, it is hard to deny the bittersweet charm that characterizes Tigers Jaw, and while their 2009 EP, Spirit Desire
, may fall short of the preceding self-titled album, it nonetheless adds four mostly enjoyable songs to the band’s discography.
Unfortunately, the EP gets off to a slow start. The title track, which is a fan favorite for reasons unbeknownst to me, begins with a bleeding guitar riff that repeats for a bit too long before the verse commences and Adam McIlwee’s vocals enter the song. The three verses are not terribly exciting, and the climax of the song in which McIlwee repeats, “Spirit desire, spend my time. Tell me that you’re always gonna be my life,”
is underwhelming as well. Luckily, the next song, We Are Great, There Is Only One (Tigers Jaw)
(questionable song title aside), is catchy and upbeat, and though lyrically sparse, it gets the EP back on track.
The third and fourth tracks round off the EP nicely, ending it on an upswing. Crystal Vision
is a slow, burning track similar to Spirit Desire
, but with improved catchiness and less repetition. Meet Me at the Corner
sounds like a track that would have fit perfectly on the self-titled album, and demonstrates exactly what Tigers Jaw excels at: writing fun songs with strong vocal harmonies and just the right amount of gloominess to establish a connection with the listener.
Since the release of Spirit Desire
, Tigers Jaw has steadily been improving all aspects of their music, most notably their lyrics, which were exceptionally strong on Two Worlds
. Jimmy Piersall
, off their split with The Sidekicks and Distress Signals
from the Run for Cover Records compilation showed a further progression in both songwriting and lyrical maturity, as well as an increased use of keyboard player Briana Collins’ vocals – something that the band said will be a continuing trend on future releases. Keeping in mind the improved quality of the band’s more recent work, Spirit Desire
, is still a worthwhile listen from Tigers Jaw, despite its dull moments. Those who are familiar with the band but may not have heard this release should absolutely give it a listen, but first time listeners of the band may want to look elsewhere in the band’s discography for a starting point.