Indie pop can perhaps sound the most primitive of the indie sub-genres, but there’s a method to its naivety; it’s not always easy to pull off with such conviction. East London’s Tigercats, however, render the kind of authentic bittersweet pop that, on the surface, sounds made for the young and disheartened. But it will have a hard time failing to enamour the wiser among us.
Defined by its measured brilliance and restrained loud and quiet moments, there’s a distinctly natural progression from the band's debut LP Isle of Dogs on their 2nd full-length Mysteries, the first to be released on the ever-dependable Fortuna Pop imprint. Here they sound more assured, both musically and lyrically - which is primarily down to Allo Darlin's Paul Rain's contribution to the LP - but also the inevitable artistic development that comes from gaining new experiences on tour with the likes of The Wave Pictures and Allo Darlin. That’s not to say their lively spark has diminished, though. Distortion is aplenty, albeit less heightened, and there are still aspects of adolescent grievances here, but there is a new-found introspection present, evinced on the downbeat brilliance of "Too Sad To Tell You" and "Sleeping In The Backseat" which, even at its most soporific, has its hurried indie disco moments.
Mysteries triumphs within its predilection for melody and nuance: "Wheezer" and "Too Sad To Tell You" both predominate in terms of juxtaposition; the former’s brass inclusions add joyous, contemplative warmth - thanks to prolific collaborator Terry Edwards - while the latter exposes the band’s propensity for beautifully adept songcraft and accomplished guitar work. Its seeming 'downfall' is in its unassuming quality that shares a likeness with many other bands of the indie pop persuasion. While there's nothing wildly new here, Tigercats aren't the kind of band to try and woo you with effusive tricks and surprises, and all the better for it.
Subtly recalling some of the softer moments of C86, singer Duncan’s salient vocals are still a distinctive aspect, and they're particularly lovely when interplayed with keyboardist Laura’s. While Isle of Dogs retained a jauntier, elemental and traditionally indie guitar-pop formula that deftly captured youthful petulance, Mysteries is its more confident, cultivated counterpart. In short, they’ve honed their craft and matured without eschewing their admirably innate pop sensibility.