Four | Four
In the endless striving for an open, honest, unaffected and authentic sound, there is a chance to be left by the wayside as dozens of combos ply the folk-rock route so beloved of Australia - a no bullshit approach to getting the creative urge out in a time-honoured tradition. The Tiger & Me, who have impressed a lot of people already, got themselves signed to ABC Music’s indie arm Four|Four before releasing this, their second album, are in no danger of getting lost. Not only do they have genuine live passion, a versatility that sees them suit a rowdy wake or a solemn funeral, but qualities many of these other bands lack; focus, and a work ethic.
Recorded live by Steve Schram, this natural approach is fitting for the sometimes drifting sometimes driving acoustic guitars, propulsive rhythms and deft mingling of the voices of singers Ade Vincent, Jane Hendry and Tobias Selkirk. With a welcome disregard for genre, the sextet play whatever works live, and as so may other bands do, they end up recording what gets a response, It’s when they venture away from that default situation that things get interesting. Songwriting chops are revealed on the gentle, growing lilt of The Door Swung, and ethereal beauty of A Want That You Wouldn’t, both redolent with subtleties that would get overlooked by a crowd ready for the upbeat singalongs. These, like opener Dance With The Devil, Waltz #3 and The Prophet Told Me are where things get a little more Baltic/Gypsy/Open Studio and audience responses tend to get divided. The bouncing pop of single Pantomime bears little resemblance to anything else on the album, but that’s more a demonstration of the breadth of their writing than any misleading gesture.
With an East Coast full of dudes strumming acoustic guitars and getting free and international with rhythms, it’s refreshing to find an Australian group who know when to rein in the jams, work as a multitalented collective and know how to sift through a sprawling range of styles to come up with a coherent and punchy album.