I find it interesting how often the synth fad fades in and out over the years. A few years ago, any band using it as a main component of their songs were labeled as “stuck in the past” or “cheap”. Currently, it seems to be acceptable and I’m all for it. Actually, anyone who labels anything musically “cheap” really has a great lack of knowledge. As long as it isn’t plagiarism, there is nothing wrong with embracing the past. Tigercity are following the mold of all these up and coming bands associating Devo and Gary Numan with slick and colorful guitars. Tigercity formed in the fall of 2004 in Northampton, Massachusetts and moved to Brooklyn, New York in late 2005. The four members of the band clearly have a fondness for dance music and synth-pop. Lead vocalist Bill Gillim has a very acceptable range and he can reach very high points in his vocals when it adds flavor. They have already found some success in releasing their first EP and playing shows with the likes of M.I.A. and Jamie Lidell.
An example of his odd but unique vocal delivery can be found in the dazzling ‘Solitary Man’. Gillim begins the song in a regular tone, though the melody is reminiscent of something Devo would come up. When the bridge kicks in, Gillim shows off his high vocals that would fit nicely in any glam hair band. The song travels in a consistent form for the first several minutes, but the last two minutes of ‘Solitary Man’ see almost a new song entirely. Though the key is still in tact, Gillim goes back to his deeper side as the band starts to sound a bit more like The Killers than Devo, though the part of the song reminds me of Franz Ferdinand’s ‘Walk Away’ for more reasons than lyrical. ‘Dark Water’ will most likely find wider mainstream success, though it is significantly simpler. The ingeminate structure of the song will easily capture the listener, who shouldn’t be surprised to know the song by heart the second or third time around. ‘Timecard’ is a frantic bass push eventually kicked in by a few chords, while the song is similar to the previous ‘Dark Water’ in utilizing a more acceptable approach than the complexing but creatively fun ‘Solitary Man’, which centered around synths and keys. The song does contain a slight alternating synth in the chorus, but it is nothing significant. Tigercity are fun, plain and simple. ‘Solitary Man’ and ‘Dark Water’ are both recent demos, while ‘Timecard’ is off of their previous EP. I am more impressed with their more recent work (the demos, which is a good sign) and I am fond of ‘Solitary Man’ quite a bit. Their EP can be purchased off of their web site, which is certainly worth it if you enjoy these tracks.