Brave, bold and beautiful. Good Tiger give us a reason to be excited about alternative music in 2018.
On their Spotify ‘about’ description, Good Tiger proclaims to “play some kind of rock” music. Upon reading this, not only was I intrigued to quantify what they meant by this, but I also wanted to clear up how I would attempt to describe their sound myself. I have listened to the band before, their debut album A Head Full of Moonlight left me trying to draw comparisons and assign them to a genre. I was unsuccessful. Luckily for me, their second album We Will All Be Gone has come just at the right time to give it another go. The Good Tiger boys are oozing creativity and I could not wait to absorb every bit of it.
Up first is The Devil Thinks I’m Sinking. The opening guitar chords hold our hands and act as a guide into this one. Gorgeously laying over the top of these repetitive tones is the imperative statement, “please don’t swim, there is something in the water”. The hypnotic atmosphere created by the repetitive nature of this opening makes for an interesting listen. The vocals of Elliot Coleman are high in pitch and, upon listening to the opening 30 seconds of the song, I was reminded of how much of fantastic addition they are to Good Tiger. Coleman explodes to asks, “can you feel it?” as the song wakes up and bursts into life. His piercing voice is incredibly flexible and stretches through an array of notes. The music is confident, it swaggers through the chorus and into the experimental breakdown. The drums do a lot of work to drive the energy of the song right up to the last note. The immersive nature of the song is coupled wonderfully with the lyrics – the motif of swimming/sinking/drowning decorates the track. As an opening track, The Devil Thinks I’m Sinking is the perfect introduction.
Float On opens with a distorted guitar riff, at every point it threatens to chug off into the distance. Once again, Coleman’s voice is delicate and explores every recess of the vocal spectrum. The energy shifts in the pre-chorus and leaves us with a haunting atmosphere. From here there is only one way that the song can go. The track explodes into an Arcane Roots-esque chorus which blends soaring vocals and the perfect collision of instruments. Throughout the song, the guitar threatens to detonate into a huge solo at any moment. By the time our desires are met, we are only given a little and are left screaming for more.
The preliminary verse of Such a Kind Stranger is almost hypnotic. It is very rhythmically tight which only furthers this notion. The guitar is, once again, a highlight and dances perfectly with the ever-diversifying vocals. The chorus has a little bit of a swank about it – a confident sound which is an incredible feat to achieve when describing a song. Although this track feels very linear compared to its predecessors, this doesn’t mean that it is a boring listen. The note that Coleman gives us to end the song is simply stunning, it leaves a very sweet taste in your mouth. I was salivating for more.
Unfortunately, for me, I could not connect to Blue Shift in the same way I did with the aforementioned songs. The track has a synthy-atmospheric introduction, and this instantly peaked my attention. I was pleased by the diversity of the song, it seemed very different and I could not help but hear smatterings of Muse in this one. The world that this song creates is very vivid and I felt incredibly immersed. However, I just feel as though it was harder to want to listen to this one again than the trio that came before it.
Luckily, Salt of the Earth gets us back on track. There is a head nod inducing guitar riff which is complemented perfectly with the pulsating drums. What an introduction to a song. The vocals come and take centre stage, but I must say that the drums are in control. They carry the song into the chorus with an electrifying pace and then guide us back out again in a more controlled fashion. Again, there is something hypnotic about this one, every part is executed with incredible musicianship and something about it just whisks you away.
I was hoping for something a little different from Grip Shoes. The interweaving vocals at the end of the track are a nice pallet cleanser, however, I feel as though most of the song sounds rather ‘safe’. I must clarify that the song is not a bad one, but I just feel as though it struggles to stand out from its companions. I will commend the fact that it is another complete song, it just needs to have a little something extra about it to break away from the pack.
Just Shy is my personal favourite from the album. We are urged to dance from the off and the chorus erupts with outstanding vocal prowess. Like a tree blowing in the storming wind, the vocals head in a different direction every time I listen to it. They are utterly phenomenal. Like with many tracks before, the drums are a stand-out addition and take charge of the pace. The lyric “I will take all that I need, to keep on walking” is the hook of the song, it accurately fits the sound of the album as it marches through with an infectious swagger.
We are greeted by another crunching guitar riff on Nineteen Grams. The shifting rhythm is the undisputed highlight of the song, it makes this one an incredibly enjoyable listen. Predictably, the vocals are phenomenal, I can’t compliment them enough as they flare up at every possible moment during the track. An atmospheric breakdown is shunned quickly by a colossal drum roll, from here we are thrown back into a bouncing chorus. This one has a little bit of everything.
Cherry Lemon is a delicate musical interlude. It flirts with sounds that have not been associated with the band for the duration of the album thus far. Interludes risk losing the interest of the listener, I can happily report that this does the opposite. The change in tempo that comes halfway through the 1-minute 50-second ditty gives it a different flavour. This one is a great demonstration of the argument that music can be art, I was inspired totally inspired to write some poetry after first hearing it.
Finally, we have I Will Finish This Book Later. There are whispering vocals that start this one off, they seem to be laid over an electro-acoustic guitar. The biggest take away from this one is the beautiful lyrics. Coleman croons that he must “grab the bourbon from the shelf, this moment needs to be cemented”. Well, what better way to set cement? Smash it with a massive hammer and this is how the sound seems to shift in the second half of the song. It is anthemic and grandiose, it is the perfect ending. I can’t help but allude the title of this track to the purpose of the album, it feels larger than this one release. I feel as though it references the pulse of the genre, one that is very much alive. This is far from over.
Brave, bold and beautiful. The album is a breath of fresh air. Multiple tracks from We Will All Be Gone have forced their way into my playlists, which is not a decision I take lightly. For fans of alternative music, Good Tiger will be exactly what you may need to get excited about the state of this scene in 2018. Please, if you do one thing today it should be to check out this album.