Tigers + Thieves – “You Can’t Have Everything” (2016)

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Tigers + Thieves is a Pennsylvanian indie pop band and “You Can’t Have Everything” is their first release, a short 5 song EP. These guys are an up and coming local band for me and after hearing snippets of some of their songs on the radio I was intrigued enough to check them out.

Tigers + Thieves consists of 5 members which is pretty apparent in the various sounds that pop up on this EP. There are a lot of great bass lines, jangly guitars, keyboard phrases, drums, and of course vocals rounding out the band’s sound. While there are a lot of moving parts to the band, they have the cleverness to not overdo it. The instrumentation is not bombastic and instead each piece inserts itself humbly for the benefit of the song at hand rather than being a wrestling match between band members. The result is a unique sound that is refreshing like some freshly squeezed lemonade.

The 5 songs on the EP are some nice and not taxing pop tunes. There are times when Tiger + Thieves touch on greatness with their melodies such as on “Lefts/Rights” and the vocals throughout are engaging and fun. Other times, I feel some of the songs are underwritten and could use a punchier melody or more dynamic changes throughout. One area that may have helped with this is the length of some of these tracks. I think they could have benefited from being condensed.

Tigers + Thieves have started out their recording career on the right foot and I cannot wait for them to drop a full length album. There have been a couple of singles released in 2017 for what I am hoping will be an LP this year, and from what I have heard so far I think it could be great.

Favorite songs: “Lefts/Rights”, “Coney Island”

7/10

 

Check out Tigers + Thieves for yourself on soundcloud here:

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Onsind – “We Wilt, We Bloom” (2017)

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Onsind is an English punk band and “We Wilt, We Bloom” is their latest album with Specialist Subject Records.

Onsind brings some elements of folk music to this album, evident with the heavy use of acoustic guitar as well as the themes in the lyrics. The band also throws in some piano on the record but most of what you’ll find in these songs is a solid pop punk sound with a political edge. I enjoy the acoustic parts of this album, but I really do prefer the more electric and traditional punk sounds that Onsind deliver. The guitar tones are crisp and what few guitar leads there are on the record are excellent and serve to elevate the songs. The vocals are a little hit-and-miss for me and I think they are at their best when the singer is belting out the lyrics.

I will say “We Wilt, We Bloom” is much stronger in its second half where the songs are more electric and the melodies are more immediate. As I mentioned, this is a political album born in large part by the UK voting to leave the European Union, and while I completely agree with Onsind’s opinions, they can be at times overbearing. There are moments when the political statements take me out of the music.

Overall, this is a solid and enjoyable punk record. While most of the album is bordering “above average” in quality for me, the highlights are great.

Favorite songs: “The Grieving Kind”, “Claimant”, “Huey Alabaster”, “Sectioned”

7/10

 

Check it out for yourself on Onsind’s bandcamp here:

https://onsind.bandcamp.com/album/we-wilt-we-bloom