Tigercub’s Abstract Figures In The Dark was a rarity in garage rock, the sort of evocative, deeply resonant album that such an ephemeral genre rarely produces. Clearly that album wasn’t an anomaly either in terms of work ethic or ambition given its follow-up Evolve Or Die, whittled down from sixty songs to just four and based around Jorge Luis Borges’ 1941 short story The Library Of Babel.
Not only that, but Evolve Or Die represents something of a stylistic shift for Tigercub, building on the already wide breadth of garage rock and grunge with new hints of noise-rock, indie-rock and even dream-pop and shoegaze. If that all seems like an unfeasibly weighty ask to spread across four tracks, that’s because it is, and Evolve Or Die feels the brunt of it in full force. The total disregard for cohesion in any form can be forgiven due to the constraints of an EP, but for the more open, languid form of tracks like Faking Laughter or particularly It’s Only Love, the heavier immediacy that Tigercub’s foundations were built on feel a bit looser here. And with Jamie Hall transitioning into an even more convincing Josh Homme soundalike while being washed over by a deeper mix, Evolve Or Die can sometimes feel as though it drifts away when Tigercub have stood so resolute in the past.
That’s not to say this is a bad EP; for as much as remains unresolved here, Tigercub are able to succeed in other areas at pushing their sound forward and splicing in further influences. The most obvious example is Divided States Of Us, the big statement about the modern world with a heavier noise-rock atmosphere and a bass tone that sounds utterly bloodthirsty, outlining the fact that, if Tigercub wanted to take up a more aggressive direction, they could easily pull it off. The writing also reveals the Queens Of The Stone Age callbacks run a lot deeper than just a vocal homage, with the sort of swirling, esoteric language that paint those hazy, desert images, but colder and harsher. That’s something that Tigercub need to be given a lot of credit for, in that their influences can easily be pulled out, but they’re never outright mimicked, and always evolve past a very surface level.
That’s why Evolve Or Die can still be appreciated even if it is a definitive step down from its predecessor. It shows a band actively pushing themselves even after such a short period of time, and while Tigercub don’t always stick the landing, there’s enough here to imply that it won’t stay that way for long. After all, Tigercub have made defying odds their forte, and it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if they do it again.
For fans of: Queens Of The Stone Age, Kagoule, Fangclub
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Evolve Or Die’ by Tigercub is released on 29th September on Alcopop! Records.