Few bands have managed to give their fans so many expectations after only one album like Three Trapped Tigers did. The release of Route One or Die, back in 2011 established them as a joyful mess of sounds; mixing loud guitars, strong rhythms, weird electronics with some pieces of experimental and progressive rock. Sure, this sound was already forged by the release of 3 EP’s (properly named as EP 1, 2 and 3) of great quality, but they blew everyone away by delivering an album of extreme originality, with its own signature and sound. It was an album that was equally technical and enjoyable, even catchy.
Already, they were a name to be reckoned with and we were just eager to hear their sophomore album to confirm that. 5 years later, with the release of Silent Earthling, it is safe to say that Three Trapped Tigers have lived up to our ever growing expectations. Not only does Silent Earthling stay on familiar grounds, but it founds TTT with a sound that is both evolved and polished from the music that made them famous back in 2011.
RELEASE DATE: 01 April 2016 LABEL: Superball Music
Right from the start, as the title track unveils, what will strike the Three Trapped Tigers fan is the predominance of the electronic music. Sure, this has always been a signature in their sound, but the guitar still takes a step back compared to Route on or Die. The way it is used in the mix, with various sounds and atmospheres, coupled with intense drumming clearly establish new parameters for Three Trapped Tigers. It may be challenging at first, but it proves to be rewarding once we dig deeper into the record. And by doing so, the ups and downs in tempos and the overall structure of the record keeps giving us the feeling that we are listening to electronic music.
That doesn’t mean that their more noisy sound is all gone! On songs like Hemisphere, infinite layers of sounds add one on top of another to create a pure awesome mess. We found Three Trapped Tigers where we expected them for our greatest pleasure. And yet, they still manage to take us by surprise and end the song with a beautiful melody that would be in its place on a Mum or Worm is Green album. This is something that always gets me back to TTT; in the end, they always go for that hook that is struck in your head forever, no matter how weird their structures might be. Engrams recalls this sense of melody more than any other songs; a unique piece of beautiful musicianship that combine sweet upbeatness with mellow grooves. Even on songs that rocks a little more guitarwise, like the great Blimp, they still go for that electro breakdown that is both surprising and tying everything together.
I talked about beautiful musicianship earlier simply because this is perhaps what needs to be said about Three Trapped Tigers. Even we sometimes can forget that they are grounded in the math-rock scene because of all the experimentations they always get themselves into. Tom Rogerson and Matt Calvert respectively on piano/keys and guitar/synths really master their instruments like few others do with this always sweet sound of melody. Needless to say they weren’t off work in the past 5 years.
My final word though is on the drum playing of Mr. Adam Betts, as, for me, he is the real deal. He is the math-rock in Three Trapped Tigers. His playing is beyond word. On songs like Rainbow Road, we just have no time to catch our breath while facing his furious energy and raw playing. He is among the most interesting drummers on the scene right now and represents the dedication and passion that always makes me come back to Three Trapped Tigers. Something that is not likely to stop with Silent Earthling.