Tigers Jaw - Hum [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Tigers Jaw

Hum [7-inch] (2013)

Run For Cover

Whether or not they're broken up or back together, touring or not touring, or whatever else is conjured when traipsing around the news of Tigers Jaw, one thing's for certain – fans are glad they're doing the long goodbye. They deliver time and time again, and what Hum adds two more tracks to that pile that serve as a stark reminder of just why Tigers Jaw are one band we can't audibly afford to have to go away.

"Hum" serves as a showcase for the talents of keyboardist/vocalist Brianna Collins; she's never too bubbly or cheeky, but instead strikes just the right balance of wispiness and strong narration. There's an irregular guitar opening that's a bit sour and grungy, which segues into a more twinkly effect that allows Collins to mold her harmonic charm. She reinforces with her keyboards, subtly commanding in their own melodies which come off as a driving hum–no pun intended–to guide the track. Ben Walsh allows Collins to run the verses while he chimes in neatly on the chorus, to continue the consistent array of diverse yet balanced music that we consider canon with this band.

'We always want what's kept from us / Well, maybe I'm a liar / There is nothing that is left for us / Maybe I am a permanent scar / I'm always talking in circles / I'm always thinking till I can't sleep / You are the leaves at my feet / You are the hum of electric heat / I kept myself awake but I'm starting to like the pain' refreshes the memory of meeting and talking with that person you love and how the separation bears pain, yet it's a pain you like because of whom it reminds you. Collins' keyboards cast a welcome, yet foreboding shadow of a hum that continues to play off well before closing off a nice dynamic of springy guitars that end on an organ-like effect, once more polishing and emphasizing the title.

Walsh then capitalizes on that "Never Saw It Coming" effect on the follow-up track, "Cool." It's nothing new from their arsenal, as both Collins and Walsh share equal airtime. The production sounds so semi-pro and austere at times but this rough, hard-edged take is well-worn by the duo. It's a calm, sometimes monotone and drawn-out delivery, that spins the usual Tigers Jaw acoustic web. Once again, they perpetrate a swooning, auspicious effect while on the gravity of romance and the notion of trying to survive in a cruel world.