4 out of 5 Stars
Based in Scranton, Pennsylvania—hardly a hotbed of cutting-edge indie-rock—Tigers Jaw still remains well below the radar, which is surprising, given their insistent yet engaging stance. With six albums and an assortment of EPs released over the past 15 years, they’ve clearly earned whatever distinction has come their way.
Even so, the band, which allegedly borrowed its name from a song by The Microphones, has had a tenuous history up until this point, thanks to a shift in membership and a sabbatical which left them in limbo prior to their 2014 reboot. With a new LP— ironically titled I Won’t Care How You Remember Me—it appears evident that they’re ready to dig in, consolidate their sound and make music with an emphatic edge. Although they cite such indie archetypes as Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance as influences, it’s now clear that they’ve captured a credible and consistent sound that’s flush with resilience and resolve. Rather than simply give way to the punk-like precepts which stirred them early on, they’ve opted instead to embrace more accessible melodies, ready hooks and durable approaches that are as catchy as they are compelling. Songs such as “Cat’s Cradle,” “Hesitation,” “New Detroit,” and “Body Language” vary little in terms of tone or treatment, but their undiminished enthusiasm and sheer exhilaration serve the music well and help keep the listener engaged.
Nevertheless, certain songs still stand out. The title track kicks things off with a simple strum before igniting a steady surge. The wistful, reflective “Heaven Apart” and the more subdued- sounding “Never Wanted To” take a decidedly pensive perspective. Singer Brianna Collins deserves much of the credit. Her waif-like vocals and more earnest intent counter the band’s unabashed aggression.
Ultimately, I Won’t Care How You Remember Me shows a care and concern that its title might otherwise belie. In that regard, Tigers Jaw bites down hard and also gives devotees plenty to chew on.