Release Date: 05.06.08
The Republic Tiger's first LP, Keep Color, is a layered indie pop album that is unique on a couple of levels. Every member of this five-piece band is a multi-instrumentalist, and they use this to their advantage by giving each song whatever it needs. Three guitars? Sure. Additional percussion? No problem. Six vocal tracks? It happens here. Even after listening to the album ten times, I found myself catching something new. It's just that meticulous, yet it's also simple, well-crafted, pop songs.
The other unique factors here are the lyrics and subject matter. It's rare to find a new album that focuses on overcoming apathy rather than wallowing in it. While the lyrics aren't overtly political, they do manage to convey the idea that you shouldn't be silenced and defeated. "Fight Song," a rowdy, percussion-heavy song that slides into electro folk during the chorus, even contains a Latin aphorism for "don't let the bastards get you down." "Golden Sand" begins with synth and a baritone voice starting the song before it goes off with a full band and asks; "Is the position that you hold / One that could parallel / A synergistically greater plan? / Or would it force us all to be packed into a can?" All of the lyrics show depth and intelligence, but if you haven't read a book in the last ten years you'll still find these songs accessible (although I must ask why in the hell you haven't read a book in ten years).
Besides the bastards who are trying to keep us down, Keep Color, also dives into modern romance and manages to cover all bases. "Feeling the Future" explores the optimism, "The Nerve" touches on doubts and mood-killing logistics, and "Made Concrete," well, this song is trying to break your heart. These lyrics sum it up: "Thinking back to fourth of July...I just don't want to think twice 'bout the favors that you did for some other guys...and I think I could never love again, the way that I loved when I was ten."
"Air Guitar" doesn't hold up against the rest of the album, although I think it's well placed as far as subject matter goes. Stand out songs include; "Buildings and Mountains" (the single), "Give Arm To Its Socket" (with its impressive indie to electro folk and back again changes, and it's "C4 in my pocket / and I'm ready to show you what for" hook), and "Golden Sand."
It's difficult to cite influences and reference other bands to give you a better idea of what sound The Republic Tigers have established for themselves with their first LP because they have pulled off a unique sound. There is something Postal Service about their electro indie pop, but Postal Service never seemed to pay this much attention to detail. There is also something Fleetwood Mac about the meticulous vocal layering, but musically the two bands sound nothing alike. People who have listened to the band's EP will love this album, but they'll also notice it goes deeper and darker at times. Because of their extension production layers, people who have only seen the band live won't have any idea of what they are fully capable of.
The Republic Tigers are touring the East Coast now with Tally Hall. They'll be playing the Tribeca Film Festival's "Breaking the Band" showcase on May 2, the Late Show with David Letterman on May 7, and then hit the road again with Nada Surf in June.