After spending several months gushing over Nagoya band tigerMos, my fanaticism has finally been rewarded with the release of their first full-length album, “TIGERMOS”. The love child of Yusuke Ikeda and Masahiro Araki, this album is a testament not only to their talents as producers and composers, but to the myriad of influences that inspired them. From the opening track Holy Rover, it is evident that they have layered baroque pop, indietronica and noise rock into a sound unlike anything else happening in Nagoya right now.

Further in, the haunting guitar work paired with Yusuke’s almost hushed lyrics on Brute is reminiscent of Nick Drake’s Things behind the Sun, but the drum machines and samples keep the song firmly in the now. I would like to think that if Nick Drake’s life had not been cut so tragically short, he would have enjoyed this blending of folk music with electronica.

If you cringe at the thought of “folktronica”, there are still plenty of traditional approaches to be appreciated. The jaunty Santamonica is summer-fuel that goes well with the windows rolled down. While on Bison, the guitar and piano duel it out for the saddest acoustic instrument, with both losing to Yusuke’s imploringly melancholy lyrics. However, if you do like robot music, tracks awabi and tetete are what you would get if you broke a Gambeboy’s heart and consoled it only with the Cure’s “Disintegration.”

The closing song Pass, a personal favorite, abandons the digital production entirely for a live recording. Quite possibly done in one take (it almost sounds like someone dropped their keys around the 0:18 mark), the stripped down music is surprisingly endearing. And Yusuke once again doesn’t shy away from bleeding his heart all over the music sheets.

While a strong debut, tigerMos’ album is also a potential diplomat for the Nagoya music scene, with a sound that could easily find a fan base on independent playlists from Portland to Seattle.  – Daniel Ostrander

The tigerMos Japan-wide debut tour hits Nagoya on Sunday August 16 at Tokuzo in Imaike, with Tokyo DJ Ametsub opening. Tickets are ¥2,500 at the door, or you can RSVP for ¥2,000.

tigerMos Release Party
Aug 16 at Tokuzo (18:00  | ¥2,500)

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