Psapp - Tiger, My Friend
Will Metcalfe 03/12/2007
Tiger, My Friend is a reissue of Psapp's 2004 album for The Leaf Label, having signed with Domino a year later the inevitable re-release is finally here; but don't worry this is definitely worthy of a wider audience. Coming on an twee'd up Zero 7 Psapp eloquently mix synths, xylophone and velveteen vocals to create an album of lush pop songs that could well lighten your life. Whilst Psapp are not the kind of band who will break into the mainstream consciousness they are the kind of band to write sweet, touching songs which will not only make you smile but they might even make you soon.
First track proper 'Rear Moth' is a real treat to hear-a shuffling progression plucked straight from a toy chest, it even has a squeaky toy for good measure. The shifting melodies and jaunty rhythms badger you for attention and by Jove they get it. Album highlight 'Leaving in Coffins' comes on softly and strongly with its gentle melodies and moving lyrics; not moving in the same way as you might say Low or Micah P Hinson, instead more a pretty ethereal sense.
In fact, ethereal pop would be an excellent way to describe just what Psapp do, when they're not dealing in toy box melodies or killer xylophones they're bashing out lullabies for the over 20s-see 'Curuncula' and the wonderful 'King Kong'. The combination of a rich sonic tapestry with seductive female vocals is perhaps a well trodden path, yet Psapp manage to smear their own unique identity all over Tiger, My Friend and steer well clear of any genuine Zero 7 territory-thankfully.
Yet it's not all whim and fancy in 'The Counter' lies a song worthy of Regina Spektor at here very best, a gentle piano ballad that is unbelievably vulnerable. The vulnerability and mix of simple instrumentation and indeed, instruments does rovide a very childlike feel to the record, though as you will have no doubt seen before this is not necessarily a bad thing. Juxtaposing such sweet tunes with some of my favourite track titles of the year i.e. 'Leaving in Coffins' is a nice touch, whilst not quite encroaching on the often dreaded 'twee' label Psapp have created a record with a crossover appeal; to the twee indie kids, and, to the normal music lovers. Psapp won't change the world by any stretch of the imagination, but if there were acts around with the artistic vision and genuine sweet sounds then musically at least, the world wouldn't need changing.