REVIEW: Tigers Jaw – “Guardian”
by Chad Jewett
Tigers Jaw make warm, dense melodic punk that takes its time developing and almost always seems to be packed beneath a layer of cotton. In some ways, their take on third-wave emo has all the gauzy washed-out quality of a whole lot of bands trying to retrofit shoegaze over post-hardcore, except the rounded hum of Tigers Jaw’s sound is something more pastoral than noir. Like Stay What You Are-era Saves The Day, there’s an intangible alt-country bronze to the way the guitars ring and curl. Their songs rumble along and expand just enough when the chorus bubbles up and settle neatly back into place when the verses come back around — this is what “Guardian” does, and does well. The song lasts four minutes — good for two verses, three choruses and some lengthy, largely-unadorned instrumental passages that, if read charitably, are there to show off the band and producer Will Yip’s taste for texture, for the way stacked up guitars and keys cohere. The whole thing is competent and bright and definitive of what a Tigers Jaw record generally figures to be. The song’s hook – which recalls, say, Hot Rod Circuit or The Anniversary or several other alumni of Vagrant’s class of 2002 – is one of the band’s best in a while and lights up a song that seems content to hit its marks.