Twin Tigers began when Matthew Rain and Aimie Morris were both working at Grit Restaurant, the Athens, Georgia establishment owned by Michael Stipe of R.E.M. (QRO album review). However, their indie-rock hews far more towards the road of such acts as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (QRO live review) and the expanse of the likes of Broken Social Scene (QRO spotlight on). On debut full-length Gray Waves, the former is stronger than the latter, and the record as a whole struggles with importance, but is a strong, solid effort.
The high, fuzzy indie-rock expanse of "Passive Idol" opens the fuzzy first half of Waves, but it is with the following "Red Fox Run" that Twin Tigers do it best, thanks to a greater force. That force is also present on "Watershed" (which, like "Red Fox", was on their 2008 debut EP, Curious Faces Violent Future), but the subsequent "Sexless Love" better balances the expanse and push.
After "Sexless" comes Gray Waves‘ title track, whose stark-to-expanse dichotomy amplifies both ends, as well as beginning the more garage-haunt back side to the record. While not as out-and-out fine as the expansive beginning, the road fuzz of such pieces as "Feathers" or closer "Island" are still capable. But with so much in this vein already out there, and the somewhat unoriginality of this genre in general, it doesn’t help Twin Tigers stand out.
And that may be the band’s biggest problem: strong music, but never quite enough to make you sit up and take notice. That perhaps has more to do with today’s listening public than with the band, and might be more of a commercial flaw than a musical one to Gray Waves, especially for a debut – it’s almost as if they’ve gone about the route to greatness from the wrong end, going for depth when its catch that’s needed at first. But there is promise and strength.
MP3 Stream: "Red Fox Run"