Tigers That Talked - Black Heart, Blue Eyes

Richard Wink 17/06/2009

Rating: 4/5

Leeds has always been a musical hotbed, the likes of Gang of Four and The Mekons came through in the post-punk years, The Wedding Present waved the white rose indie rock flag in the mid eighties and a whole plethora of NME endorsed bands such as Kaiser Chiefs, ˇForward, Russia!, Pulled Apart by Horses, Hadouken! and The Pigeon Detectives have had varying levels of success in recent years. Tigers That Talked don't sound much like any of those aforementioned bands, instead sharing more in common with the thoughtful indie sound of Montreal.

It looks as though 'Black Heart, Blue Eyes' will set the ball rolling for the band, with its alluring mix of delicate violins and somewhat fey vocals, encroaching ever so slightly on Maccabees territory. The violin is the killer here, a wicked witch of an instrument that drives even the most ice hearted to the verge of uncontrollable bottom lip shuddering.

'Smokescreen' is a folk, widow's waltz, with vocalist Jamie Williams sounding fragmented, his vocals teetering on the tightrope between heartbreak and regret. 'The Electric Press' with its xylophone chimes and echoing hums ties in well with Williams' desperate voice, now at its breaking point. Closing track 'Duct' is rapturous, piercing frantic folk; imagine a youthful (and sober) version of The Dubliners.

If Tigers That Talked can knock together another six or seven songs like this then we could see a meaningful album destined to be showered with superlatives. Yes, it is early days, and they could throw away all this early promise into a plastic bucket of self indulgence but there are some exciting similarities with Arcade Fire, there are green shoots of originality (a concept lost on a lot of up and coming artists) and a genuine sense that something exciting is brewing. Tigers That Talked have embarked with purposeful strides on a great journey, can they arrive?