After completely reorganizing The Tripwire's music library, I stumbled upon an EP from Kansas City, MO's The Republic Tigers. This five-piece band has remained fairly unnoticed thus far, but hopefully as more people discover this self-titled release, that will soon change. For fans of indie pop that walks the line of The Shins, Travis and Sunny Day Real Estate, this is a band you should check out as soon as possible.
The clean production and guitar sounds immediately brought the band Travis to mind on the EP's opener, "Buildings & Mountains." Making quality, straightforward pop is no easy task when treading water in the indie world, but The Republic Tigers do so easily with a confidence rarely heard from debut releases. The synth arpeggios and backing vocals could have made this fit easily on The Boy With No Name, a criminally overlooked album from the past year.
Not a band to rely on one specific sound, they switch things up a bit on "Sinkin' Annie, Down, Down, Down, Down," almost coming across as a largely acoustic effort from Jeremy Enigk, mixed with a splash of The Shins. This is a well-crafted song, produced to sound accessible yet not overly glossy. "The Drums" adds in an interesting drum machine beat to their sound, bringing in a bit of Postal Service to the mix. It is never overwhelming, tossing in slight glitches to the track that are subtle yet fit in perfectly.
The EP wraps up with "Rollercoaster," the most expansive song on this release. It begins with the simple strumming of an acoustic guitar, a melodic line on the piano and some basic percussion. It continues to build, yet never truly seems to take shape. The vocals only kick in during the final moment, something that should have perhaps happened earlier to keep the momentum going. It is a cool track, it just feels like it is trying to reach a level of climax that never quite happens.
Overall this is quite an impressive release from what could be an exciting up and coming band. I am most definitely anxious to hear what The Republic Tigers come up with for their debut full-length album, Keep Color, which is due out in May.
MP3 Download - "Buildings & Mountains"