Early City Murder Time
Independent release, 2006
REVIEW BY: Cory Galliher
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/05/2007
The synthesizer was invented in 1876 by a man named Elisha Gray. It was largely accidental; he found that he could control the sound coming from a circuit, and he put it to use to create the device.
A hundred and thirty years later, an Arizona-based band named Tigerface fell in love with the instrument. Not just devotion, mind you, but a hopeless unrequited “Layla”-type love. Taking the synthesizer out of this music would probably result in the band becoming homicidal.
Fortunately, the music is actually pretty good, so they can keep their synthesizer and we can keep our lives. The six-track EP Early City Murder Time opens with "It's One Thing," which is single material through and through, with a chorus catchy enough that I found myself humming along after the fact. "Levels" comes off as club music with Nine Inch Nails lyrics and pacing; while the track itself isn't bad, I kept finding myself wondering how much better it would be if the Nine Inch Nails part simply wasn't there.
This, in turn, sums up the biggest issue I had with Early City Murder Time -- Tigerface are clearly competent musicians who don’t know what kind of music they want to make. A schizophrenic blend of emo, dance and rock litters the disc, and only by putting aside your previous thoughts about one of those genres can you appreciate this fusion.
The rest of the album is as eclectic as the first two tracks; "Slower and Stare" is dark and foreboding, with the synthesizers painting a picture of despair, while "Sin" is fast and angry, with the synthesizers providing the necessary anger. "Your Sunday" is dreary and sad, but for me the other highlight of the album is "Not You Ever Me," a pumping bass supplementing the guitar work and lyrical undercurrents.
As far as EPs go, Early City Murder Time is hard to fault. Sure, it's experimental, but freshman EPs are the best time for a new band to find their sound and refine it. Tigerface could carry on with the unique musical blend they have here or they could find a niche in one of the genres they incorporate, but they should choose a road quickly. In any event, keep your eye on this band, especially if you are into the synthesizer.