For Fans Of
On their second record, ‘We Will All Be Gone’, Good Tiger have continued to further explore their melodic post-hardcore, “some kind of rock” sound that was first hinted at on their debut LP, the decentish ‘A Head Full Of Moonlight’ (2015). This time around, however, the five-piece have really dialled up their melodic strengths, taken their widescreen choruses to the extreme, delivered even more beautiful chord voicings, written better instrumental passages, have ditched the out-of-place screaming altogether, and now retain only small traces of their proggy, djentier undercurrent from their debut full-length. Which all makes for a much stronger, more mature listen overall.
Of course, to just call a spade a spade, and in the band ditching most of their heavier elements, ‘We Will All Be Gone’ displays some massive Circa Survive and Saosin worship through and through. Everything about Good Tiger now – the pretty chords, the clean production, the structures, the style, the guitar layers, the vocal melodies, the slight progressive undertones, and the songwriting in general – places the band right alongside the likes of Circa Survive, Saosin, Hail The Sun, Stolas, and Sianvar, whilst also throwing it back to older alternative bands like Bayside and Armor For Sleep. Basically, for this new record, just think Dance Gavin Dance without Jon Mess‘s screams and that band’s often questionable lyrics.
Tracking this second record at Middle Farm Studios in England with producer Forrester Savell (Karnivool, Dead Letter Circus), and engineer/mixer Adam “Nolly” Getgood (ex-Periphery, Animals As Leaders), this record is very well produced and sonically polished. But that’s just a small portion of all records, admittedly. For individually, the band themselves have really upped their game, hitting that awesome mid-point between being a band for the everyman and a muso’s band as well. Guitarist Derya “Dez” Nagle once said in a recent press release that “…we wanted to focus more on songwriting rather than specifically on any kind of wow factor, instrumentally or production-wise. We wanted the songs to speak, and everything we did was serving that purpose.” Which shows in the final product.
Good Tiger’s incredibly talented drummer, Alex Rüdinger (ex-The Faceless), utilises his vast abilities to really drive these tracks forward as he drops rock-solid grooves, well-placed accented beats, proggy flourishes and slick fill runs below the other instrumentals; injecting plenty of complex chops into the mix at times but then also playing for these songs rather than against them. Maybe it’s because I’m a drummer myself but the dude really steals the show here. Elsewhere in the rhythm section, bassist Morgan Sinclair has one brilliant bass tone on this record and the low-end is so well-rounded and punchy too, filling out the band’s sound gloriously so.
Vocalist Elliot Coleman (formerly of TesseracT) and his soaring falsetto vocals here are quite impressive and his high register style puts him in the same leagues as your Anthony Green’s, your Michael Jagmin’s, your Tilian Pearson‘s and your Kellen Quinn’s (except his band is actually good, unlike the latter’s). Now, the only real remaining hints of the band’s heavier past come in the crunchy guitars, riffs and tunings in the guitar work of Joaquin Ardiles and Nagle (both of whom come from The Safety Fire), but even then that’s still a bit of a stretch. For I feel that Good Tiger really honing their instrumental skills further for this second record and growing sonically beyond just being a “heavy” band was indeed for the best. And that’s hopefully something we’ll see develop better over the years as the band continues on. Well, that’s so long as they can create fully consistent records in terms of actual songs. Because while there are some truly killer songs here, there are also some entirely forgettable ones present too.
Solid opener ‘The Devil Thinks I’m Sinking’, the fantastic album standout ‘Salt Of The Earth’, the engrossing and anthemic ‘Grip Shoes’,‘Just Shy’ and the downright groovy ‘Nineteen Grams’ (written about the supposed perfect amount of coffee for an espresso, which is key for a touring band) are the real winners here. Scarily so in the aforementioned Circa/Saosin/Stolas worship too but it’s never enough to warrant plagiarism. However, with the band so imbued with this far more musically interesting post-hardcore sound on LP #2, as other songs like ‘Float On’, ‘Such A Kind Stranger’, and ‘Blueshift’ (which all hit back-to-back-to-back on the track listing) just do not reach the same heights; they’re just kinda there, idling away in the background. This average trio is just bumming around the record’s space with little to offer, little to grip you in and little to sway you with. Simply put, while the band don’t change style or sound on these three particular tracks, they just come off as filler tracks when they’re surrounded by frankly better and far less skippable songs like ‘The Devil Thinks I’m Sinking‘ and ‘Salt Of The Earth‘. (Seriously, those two are certified fuckin’ bangers).
The back half of the album also serves much better too. The band really gets their Chon the fuck on with the gorgeously proggy interlude of ‘Cherry Lemon’, a short but lovely penultimate piece propelled along expertly by Rüdinger’s exceptional drum playing. The album then wraps up with the poignant and self-aware titled closer, ‘I’ll Finish This Book Later’, a dynamic and impactful song that features Nagle offering his own delicate clean vocals to complement Coleman’s beautifully angelic voice to meta-references the record’s themes of surviving inside of a writer’s fictional literary work. The way this final song starts off in such a lush, quiet and soothing manner and the way it later explodes into a massive riff-and-groove section that expands and propels the second half of it towards its fluttering climax is superbly done; a real testament to Good Tiger’s powerful writing abilities. Which is something I couldn’t have said the same about three years ago with ‘A Head Full Of Moonlight‘.
As evident by ‘We Will All Be Gone’, and even with a few low-points, Good Tiger continue to get better and better with each new release; the growth is crystal clear on this new LP. Now, how a poppier, melodic and lighter-sounding band like Good Tiger got on a label like Metal Blade Records I haven’t the foggiest, but I am very glad that they’re there.
1. The Devil Thinks I’m Sinking
2. Float On
3. Such a Kind Stranger
5. Salt of the Earth
6. Grip Shoes
7. Just Shy
8. Nineteen Grams
9. Cherry Lemon
10. I’ll Finish This Book Later
‘We Will All Be Gone’ is out now via Metal Blade Records.