Album Review: “Tiger Songs” The Blacks
“Lately I find the gentlemen arrive in fours and fives / Blink and your mine” calls Luisa Black on The Blacks’ latest and final offering Tiger Songs. Though nothing will ever replace the frontwoman’s fixed gaze onstage or the three-piece’s legendary live “Tambourine Experiment,” the dark garage rockers depart with an album that’s as compositionally seamless as it is raw, fierce and uncompromising. From the first smack of “Hey!” in “Tiger Song” to the wild gnashing of “White Girl” and last purr of “Ammunition,” the six-song EP brilliantly captures the alluring/predatory quality of its animal namesake.
It’s easy to hear the influence of The Jesus and Mary Chain and Yeah Yeah Yeahs in Tiger Songs’ pulsing guitars, echoey reverb and dancey drums, but as The Blacks established in the past with their covers of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” and Romeo Void’s “Never Say Never,” sometimes blacker is better. Arguably the most addictive song on the album, “Sunday Boys” could take on YYYs’ “Y Control” any day. Rattling with venom, the song thrusts you onto the dance floor for a chokehold of a breakdown, and introduces the unforgettable “Saturday girls and Sunday boys.” A feral quality rears its head in “White Girls” as Luisa goes rabid with gutsy, blown out vocals that get progressively more unruly.Â But it’s not all prowling here: “Tiger Song,” with its memorable chorus and spot-on production, reveals an oddly beautiful vulnerability and even a trace of empathy amidst the snarl, and words of wisdom are passed on in the attitude-filled blurts of “Walking Through Walls.”
Perhaps the real success of Tiger Songs can be summed up with a line from “Gravitas,” with its buzzing sirens: “He’s got gravity / He’s got a weight on him.” This is an album with substance and staying power; The Blacks may be gone, but they will surely not be forgotten.
- Review submitted by Katherine Hoffert.