A lot of modern hard rock bands make the mistake of trying to preserve rock’s past, creating derivative, conservative music. Innovative hard rock can exist in 2016, and doesn’t have to be obsessed with past tropes. Tigercub prove this. Their approach expands on the traditional hard rock method of verse-chorus, hook-based song structures, combining it with their use of sheer noise and atmospheric elements to varying degrees. It keeps their debut ‘Abstract Figures in the Dark’ fresh and interesting at every turn. That’s not to say they don’t wear their influences on their sleeves, the masculine swagger from Queens of the Stone Age is a constant, yet Tigercub add their own elements to this existing sound.
Throughout they strike a balance between noisiness and tunefulness: ‘Migraine’ might be a full-on heavy racket, but it’s followed by ‘Up in Smoke’, a slower, more organic track. A bigger, expansive approach is seen on tracks like ‘Burning Effigies’, while mid-album highlight ‘The Golden Ratio’ combines many of these different rock, noise and atmospheric elements to great effect. It transitions nicely into ‘Control’, a rockier track with a killer hook and instrumental section, which adds to the feeling of ‘Abstract Figures…’ as a complete package rather than just a collection of songs.
The two penultimate tracks ‘By Design’ and the title track, delve deeper into the atmospheric elements of Tigercub’s sound, creating a sprawling, dark soundscape. All of this is then beautifully undone by the simple, upbeat tone of album closer ‘Black Tides’, which features some well-placed hand claps.
Tigercub’s ‘Abstract Figures in the Dark’ is an engaging take on rock music; full of great ideas, fantastically written songs and sheer passion, which gives more and more on repeated listens.
‘Abstract Figures in the Dark’ by Tigercub is released on November 11th on Alcopop! Records.
Words by Alan Cunningham (@funeral_polis)