Review Summary: Mia Volcano Fortress Pharaoh
Up until the release of Mia Pharaoh, Brooklyn band Miniature Tigers career could best be defined as a "beautiful identity crisis." The Miniature Tigers had crafted two superb albums, but they had also made two albums that were essentially polar opposites. Tell It To The Volcano was the ultimate workout album: the album was filled with insanely catchy pop-punk songs, was around 30 minutes in length, and had just about every song possible (the love song, the break-up song, the "you're a whore!" song, etc.) The bands next release Fortress was the ultimate stoner album: it combined the spaced out instrumentation of Deep Purple, The Moody Blues, and Deerhunter, the general weirdness of Iron Butterfly and the Peter Gabriel Genesis, and the quality of material of modern day giants such as Deerhunter and Animal Collective. With Tell It To The Volcano and Fortress the Miniature Tigers released two brilliant albums, but the band still did not know if they were a pop-punk treadmill band or a stoned out psychedelic band. On Mia Pharaoh the band figures it out and the result is nothing short of spectacular.
Instead of deciding to be strictly a pop-punk band or deciding to go further into the weird world of experimentation, Mia Pharaoh is the sounds of a band finding their sweet spot. It combines the quirkiness of Fortress and the forcefulness of Tell It To The Volcano on just about every track: you can space out and rock out to the disco sounding "Sex On The Regular," you can be amazed by the calming "f-- you!" nature of songs like "Cleopatra," you can lose yourself in the sexiness of "Angel Bath," and you can listen to "Boomerang" at just about any time imaginable and it never really gets old at all. Mia Pharaoh ends up being an album where just about every track is a combination of the bands previous pop-punk and psychedelic works, a combination of the sounds and catchiness of the bands ten best songs from their two previous albums, and a combination of just about every relevant, quirky, and energetic pop-punk and psychedelic band you can think of. Even though the album has all of these influences, sounds, and songs it still flows together beautifully from track to track and has at least five standout tracks.
Mia Pharaoh is an album where a band in an "identity crisis" finds the most complicated "sweet spot" in recent memory; the Miniature Tigers easily combine pop-punk, psychedelic, folk, and rock sounds from their previous two albums perfectly. You could say that Mia Pharaoh is an album that combines the sounds of Yellowcard, Brand New, and Taking Back Sunday with Deerhunter, Animal Collective, Deep Purple, Genesis, and Iron Butterfly, but that would be doing the Miniature Tigers an almost grave injustice. The reason Mia Pharaoh is the Miniature Tigers' sweet spot is because it is an album that ensures the Miniature Tigers are the only band that can be the Miniature Tigers. And nothing is sweeter than the sound of that sort of originality.