Tiger Army

Tiger Army – V•••–

Album: V•••–
Artist: Tiger Army
Release date: May 20, 2016
Label: Rise Records
Genre: Psychobilly
Tiger Army is moving forward by looking back with their newest studio recording V•••–.  Frontman Nick 13 said of the new work“It was very important on this record for me to try to do something new to top myself”,  “I think a lot of people become complacent after so many years of making music. And I guess that was one reason why I was away for a little while—because that’s what needed to happen to maintain that passion and, hopefully, freshness.”

V•••–  is the band’s first records since 2007’s Post-Psychobilly Music From Regions Beyond where they explored their music at its root source. Influenced by the vintage sounds of artists like Del Shannon,  Joe Meek, and (the more widely known) Roy Orbison, the 13 tracks of this album expand their sound and pay recognition to those musical forefathers.

The three piece -singer/guitarist Nick 13, bassist Dave Roe (Johnny Cash, Ray Lamontagne, Dan Auerbach) and drummer Mitch Marine (Dwight Yoakam) created the record under the guidance of  Grammy Award-winning producer Ted Hutt (Old Crow Medicine Show, The Gaslight Anthem, Dropkick Murphys). Hutt  helped Tiger Army craft a new sound paying homage to the 1950’s and 1960’s. The producer also played keyboards and piano on several tunes on the recording. Hutt and Nick 13 even tracked down a rare Clavioline keyboard the same used in Shannon and Meek recordings, to capture that signature sound.

Proving that you can evolve and still appeal to your fans a few tracks were closer to home with powerhouse romps dancing on the edge of their signature Psychobilly sound. Good examples of this are  “Firefall”, “Knifes Edge”, “World without the Moon”, and  “Prisoner of the Night”

Nick 13 wanted a vibe that was a more stripped down  and base of the punk influence within band’s sound.  You can really feel this in tracks like the faster paced “Candy Ghost”,  the cowboy-esq  existential ballad “Train to Eternity”, and  the darkly brooding “Devil Lurks on the Road”.  Nick 13 stated “And I wanted to almost strip away a little bit of the noise, and kind of play around with those ratios. You know, the urgency of punk at ground zero, and what influence it was taking from the original rock ‘n’ roll. And just kind of tweak those ratios a little bit. Because that was something I always heard in there.”

The reflective ballad “Happier Times” hits an introspective note we can all relate to while also hitting some very nostalgic musical notes in style. The final track “In the Morning Light” – is an epic, grand and gorgeous anthemic story of love that will bring goosebumps to your soul.  These tunes are a couple featuring haunting operatic backing vocals of  Savitri Labensart.  The style of backing vocals is  a hallmark of past used with artists like Roy Orbison,  Jack Wood and  Joe Meek records in the 50’s and 60’s.

Throughout is Nick 13 at his best balladeer his soothing country-tinged vocal warbles steady and seductive whether in  croon or semi-falsetto. The bands tightly crafted sound on this rings true and as authentic to both the Tiger Army vibe and the musical influences within.