Miniature Tigers dodged a sophomore slump and separated themselves from the rest of the Brooklyn-based indie pack with their 2010 release, Fortress. But despite favorable reviews from CoS, Pitchfork, and Entertainment Weekly, the album never accrued enough buzz to launch the band into the forefront of popular music, Ã la Foster the People or most recently Gotye.
That could all very well be about to change given Mia Pharaohs sexy set of synthed-up pop songs. Miniature Tigers have taken another dramatic turn on the musical map thats propelled the band far, far away from their early days of fun yet run-of-the-mill EPs. Theyve fused the sounds of 60s pop with an indie take on todays top 40, and the result varies from the psychedelic to the almost club-ready.
The first track, Sex On The Regular, sets the inimitable tone of the album, both thematically and musically, with a catchy and powerful synth beat kicking the album off into full-on dance mode. Frontman Charlie Brand said he studied the likes of The Dream, Kanye, and Katy Perry, and this change in inspiration is most apparent here. Its the type of first song that makes the rest of the tracks seem unimportant, but in the case of Mia Pharaoh, they are anything but.
The album is paced impeccably, with Female Doctor and Cleopatra allowing some breathing room in the form of slower, 80s-style jams that showcase Brands vocals and the bands electric harmonies. The albums lyrics shine as well, and Easy As All That reveals Miniature Tigers heartfelt endearing side with lines like, This is the hardest thing that I ever had to do/ should I tell her that I love her though Im not supposed to?/ Should I tell her everything and lay it all out?
The songs mellow more and more as the album progresses, and the beginning of Flower Door sounds like Princes iconic Dearly beloved monologue could begin any second. The retro comparisons continue as Ugly Needs feels quite Pet Sounds-inspired, and the vocals on the last track, Husbands and Wives, is reminiscent of The Beatles Because.
But its Angel Bath that embodies what this album is all about. The slow, sexy opening fits with the contemporary pop sound of Mia Pharaohs earlier songs, with lyrics like, It was like magic when we first got together/now its like ooh, ooh, ooh. But mid-song, Brand and Co. drops us in a cinematic, psychedelic free-fall that calls to mind The Dude or Alice in Wonderland. Its this combination of contemporary and old school that makes the album so successful.
After touring with the likes of Neon Indian, Ben Folds, and The Morning Benders, among others, and building upon earlier album concepts, this band is clearly willing and able to try on as many hats as it takes to make them a success. Mia Pharaoh is their most effective attempt yet, and its obvious that this band isnt going anywhere.
Essential Tracks: “Sex On The Regular”, “Easy As All That”, and “Angel Bath”