Tiger High // Christine
Volar Records/Trashy Creatures
Recommended Track: More
Tiger High is a Memphis band whose members have worked with several prominent musicians, most notably their hometown hero, Jack Oblivian, and seminal 60s psych group Love. The band’s drummer Greg Roberson was responsible for reuniting the remaining members of Love in 2006 and both he and Tiger High’s primary songwriter and producer Jake Vest were members of Oblivian’s solo band in the early 2000s. Influences from each are prominent throughout Tiger High’s discography, but whereas their 2014 LP Inside the Acid Coven drew more from Love, the Memphis natives’ latest offering, 7-inch Christine, draws inspiration from Lost Sounds and Jay Reatard, playing out like a refined, more mature version of Inside.
Christine’s opening and title track, which also appeared on Inside the Acid Coven, begins slowly, with a staccato bass accompanied by a shimmering guitar and the growlings of brothers Jake and Tony Vest. In a matter of seconds, the song bursts into a sonic tornado, adding in a tambourine, drums, and the brothers’ anthemic declaration of love for the eponymous subject. “Christine” packs a punch, one that launches the EP into gear. After bouncing back from the impact of the title track, “More” flies in and lives up to its name, doing even more delightful damage to the listener. Jake Vest’s guitar throbs along in perfect harmony with Roberson’s drums for a song reminiscent of an optimistic version of something off of Jay Reatard’s Blood Visions. Yet another good ol’ tambourine jangle chimes in all while Vest roars the reflective yet demanding statement: “I think I need more.” Coming in at just under two minutes, “More” is both the shortest song and strongest effort on Christine. Appropriately placed in the middle, the song could serve just as well as an ear-catching opener or powerful conclusion. Christine comes to an end, but refuses to wind down, with “Shakey Legs.” The track is led by robotic keyboards à la fellow Memphians the Lost Sounds, which are layered seamlessly with Vest’s command to “shake, shake, shake on and on,” providing a tinge of power pop sweet enough to leave the listener on a high note while presenting them with an uplifting message to take away as well.
Bands come and go, and some even reunite, come again and go once more, but whether your favorite’s playing the local auditorium next month or is alive only on your record player, a modern reincarnation exists somewhere in the audio-sphere. Many times these new bands sound more like a regurgitation than a reincarnation, but luckily for us, Tiger High provides our eager ears with a promising take on the sounds we know and love. As they take a more anthemic direction with Christine, the band begins to tastefully make room for themselves on the national pedestal of garage bands, all while remaining true to the psychedelia that initially brought them to prominence in their local scene.