Apparently, Evolve or Die, the new EP from Brighton’s Tigercub, was influenced by a short story from Argentinian author George Louis Borge, called The Library of Babel. This tale is about a universe that consists of a library full of a series of hexagonal rooms containing the bare necessities for human survival. Pretty dark/dystopian, huh. I have no more to add to this really, otherwise I’m just re-imaging the press release I was sent and that’s fucking tedious. The use of ‘evolve or die’ in the EP’s title, obviously refers to the trio and their ever-changing, mutating sound as none of the four songs on Evolve or Die sound like the last, which is somewhat refreshing. They freely admit to cutting songs up, stitching back together, playing them backwards, looping parts until they’re barely recognisable as songs, before wrapping them around rollercoasters and setting them alight. (Okay, maybe not that last one.)
The barking bass-fuzz of first track, The Divided States Of Us, is wonderfully industrial – it’s a harsh, metallic hack of disdain, whilst the slurring and mystical vocals of frontman Jamie Hall, creep through the airwaves. The chorus is particularly dirty – riffs decay and crumble apart under the gurgling crackle, whilst the almost electronic-drums thunder along a tight and desolate dance-beat. Think of a scuzz-pop Nine Inch Nails hammering of doomed mechanical panic and fear. Even the simplistic and minimal video they recorded for it seems to be pulling itself to pieces through the sheer weight of their power – destructive melody rammed into 3 minutes and executed with crackling, caustic energy.
If your ears can take the opening few seconds of Into The Ashes, which sound like the inner-workings of the Terminator booting up in a storm, then you will go far. A moody and dream-like piece, it feels like the perfect follow-up to the industrial-rock that preceded it. There’s even remnants of a guitar seeping through the four-string fuzz, which smolders and gurgles with dark anticipation. The warping noise on this is a constant pulsating roar in the background, giving weight to Jamie Hall’s mournful, yet delicate vocal lead.
Tigercub flip their sound completely on the Cure-lite It’s Only Love – a bristling and delicate embrace of emotive pop brilliance. The shimmering guitar sounds, coupled with the minimalist shaker-percussion and the crunching indie-rock chorus fit perfectly. It steps away from the industrial turbulence of the first two tracks, settling for something a whole lot sweeter. Final track, in the form of the poppy-fuzz of Faking Laughter, is delightfully off-kilter; juddering and skipping along its dislocated and discordant riffage. There’s something slightly morose and hopeful about it, especially the line about “my heart keeps beating faster“.
The thing is, Tigercub still remain a mystery to me – they really sound like nothing I’ve heard before; yet reference so much but have this unique and mesmeric style that really sets them apart. I guess I need the full live experience. Evolve or Die is a cracking little EP that demands your attention and pulsates with fresh innovating ideas.
Stream The Divided States of Us below and pre-order Evolve or Die here from Alcopop! Records. Treat yourself.