Of all the sub-genres of indie music there’s a lot to be said for good old indie-pop. On the basis of this album most of the conversations on the genre will be centred around Tigercats. Mysteries is the second album from the East Londoners, their first on the fabulous Fortuna Pop! label and the follow up to Isle of Dogs on Fika Recordings (and if you like indie-pop you must go check out Fika Recordings). Within seconds of the opening song my mind is whisked away to a field in Derbyshire, I’m sipping a ridiculously strong bright orange cider, there’s bands playing on trains, in churches and in barns, happy people everywhere. I’m all set for the 14:30 from Swanick Junction. If you know what I’m harping on about then chances are you’re already a fan of Tigercats.
‘Junior Champion’ kicks off proceedings, it’s upbeat guitars chiming, the tone is spot on. It seems to be a song about playing chess but not quite to grandmaster level, losing pieces down the sofa, great kissing and most of all the thrill of being with someone you really want to be with. The song playfully bounces and skips, both Duncan and Laura’s vocals perfectly pitched together. It’ll leave you smitten and it’s immediately Check in favour of Tigercats.
‘Laura and Cesar’ slows the pace to a pleasant stroll. It’s one of two tracks with Laura on lead vocals (the other being ‘Sleeping in the Back Seat’) and is reminiscent of the Pastels most recent album which can only be a positive. ‘King of Vic’ is a bit of a departure from previous Tigercats, sounding like of a less bombastic Arcade Fire. It’s drama is brilliantly done.
First single from this album, ‘Sleeping in the Back Seat’, is a half-asleep tale of touring, waiting, staring out the window, endless roads, missing loved ones, familiar songs on the radio. It rolls along with a beautiful yearning, its hook will bury itself in your brain. It sounds like a hungover ‘Enola Gay’. ‘Wendy and Lisa’ is a slow, wistful story of regrets and apologies. It closes the album in a delicate, sombre mood.
There are no weak tracks on the album. It represents a more polished, confident sounding band. One that have grown up a little (but not too much) from the fun of their debut album. It’s still indie-pop at heart and, like any of the best examples from the genre, it whisks the listener seamlessly through feelings of joy, despair and overall contentment. However, this record shows Tigercats have more stripes than we might have first thought. It seems they are the grandmasters after all. Check Mate.
Mysteries is released on Fortuna Pop! on 2nd February 2015