Warning: I know its not rockabilly but bear with me here.
Well the wait is over. After years of anticipation. Not thinking it would ever come to fruition. It finally arrived…to some fan fair. Some hated it. Some absolutely loved it. Then there is what seems to be the majority. People who aren’t sure what to think. All this for….Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (gotcha!!). No folks I’m talking about the new Tiger Army album V …_ (or for short I just verbally call it “five”). Their newest released flew out of the darkness Friday of last week and the Facebook posts have been interesting. Then finally I gave it a listen.
Now let me take you back nearly 9 years ago. I took a bus from San Clemente Ca on an hour trek to Laguna Beach to a place called Sound Spectrum. Bought the recently released Tiger Army album “Music from Regions Beyond”. Opened it up. Popped it in my portable cd player (it was 2007 I had yet gotten a smart phone or an mp3 player) and listened. To me at the time it felt like a normal case of a band doing a “sell out” album. It happened to any rock band at the time. They got a little tiny bit of success with an album (that being III: Ghost Tigers Rise) and they change their sound a little. Here, Nick 13’s guitar playing changed a little. A couple sounds almost reflecting more popular emo rock bands during that era (at least that’s how I saw it at the time). I was disgusted by this album. This band was the gateway drug that got me into psychobilly and that lead to my obsession with real rockabilly music and you gave me THIS! How dare you Nick 13! How dare you! But without realizing it, I was voluntarily playing it a lot…I mean alot. Next thing you know I had an epiphany! This was a damn good album. Regardless of what genre or sound they created. It has amazing songs. Just a more polished version of what most think psychobilly should be.
Fast forward to 2016, this time I downloaded the album. Saves me a bus trip from my current home in East Los Angeles. It starts off promising. The prelude is vintage Tiger Army. Though for the first time there is no “Tiger Army Never Die”. Track two “Firefall” is a kick ass number. I’m thinking there is hope after all. Next the Del Shannon “Prisoner of the Night” pops up and luckily I wasn’t in for too much of a shock since I’ve already watched the video so I knew this kooky track was on its way. Immediately the most unique sounding TA song ever. “I am the moth” is next and hope is still there! “World without a moon” comes up and its excellent. Sadish lyrics mixed with a happy synthesizer sound. I can hang with this. I’m eclectic. And then this happens…
“Dark and Lonely Night”, Hmmm half way there and we’re already on the slow song. Usually the TA formula calls for this type a bit more into the later half of an album. Best way to describe this is imagine the scene in Back To the Future, at the dance where they’re singing Earth Angel and Marty’s parents as teens fall in love. This song would be perfect to dub over that scene. Unfortunately I absolutely have to skip over this. I’m not a fan of slow slow slow ballads. Following this is “Knife’s Edge“. Unleash the trumpet! Yes you read that right! “Devil Lurks on the Road” is once again full of keyboards. I’m wondering if the band added a keyboard player and forgot to announce it. It’s actually a good song so I’ll let it slide. The song “Happier Times” follows…
Ok….another slow song?
Still don’t like it. I cringed when I played it just now to remind me. Actually it picks up. Just a little. Sounds almost like it should be in a 90s Mentos ad. “Train to Eternity” is the tradition of a TA country song on each album. I can hang with this. I love it to be honest. Makes me wanna pop out Nick 13’s amazing country album that you should all own! “When the tide comes in” rolls by and I’m….
Ok I can handle this……I can handle this. “In the Morning Light” is the final track on the album and Nicky boy sings us to sleep. Literally I could feel my eyelids start to drop as I heard it. This album made “Music from Region Beyond” sound like death metal. It was slower than most Morrissey albums. Too many slow songs. There are really good songs in this. I feel like with time I might appreciate this album more. I don’t wanna say the album was bad at all. I also don’t wanna say it was good. Dear god its Batman V Superman all over again!! I can appreciate a band not wanting to do the same thing all over again. As much as I love TA’s first three albums, I sometimes can’t tell some songs apart. All three to a degree sound like the same album. Nick 13’s solo album was full of slow songs but the thing about that record is that I expected slow songs. So kudos for being different. I can’t call this a “sell out” album at all. I don’t see any of these songs as a means to get a huge hit. They recorded what they wanted to record and its now in the books. Hopefully 9 years from now after the impending apocalypse I’ll look back and say “WOW what a great album!” at the moment I can only give you a shrug. Just like I did for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
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Come back next time where I’ll show you what medicine to take after eating a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich.