The Sound Of Animals Fighting - Tiger And The Duke (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Sound Of Animals Fighting

Tiger And The Duke (2005)

Stars And Satellites

With a conglomeration of southern Californian bands including the Rx Bandits, Finch, and Circa Survive starting a project, what would you expect as a resultant sound?

You're probably not thinking prog-rock. You're also probably thinking that two-thirds of the members here are completely incapable of pulling something like that off.

Well, you're wrong. Kinda.

When the Sound Of Animals Fighting is constructing actual songs, the band is superb. Everything from the very Bandits-like riffing and Mars Volta-esque soloing of Matt Embree to the wailing vocal style of Anthony Green (Circa Surive, ex-Saosin) is absolutely on, especially with Green's style complimenting everything else perfectly. He sounds like he's having epileptic fits as a cast of characters behind him - all going by various animals themselves, including Green - slap together frenetic, atmospheric guitars and fussy drum work. Though the four songs here are basically just slightly reworked versions of the demos that started to float around late last year, the improvement in production is just enough to at least increase enjoyability and make more sense overall, with a changed or extended part here or there. For example, the instrumental before the first official verse and the bridge in "Act I: Chasing Suns" is dragged out a bit more, but in a really good way, especially when you're basically lead to believe that Carlos Santana himself is lending a hand to the guitar parts in the bridge, though it essentially sounds like the same influence present on TMV's De-loused... "So what's the problem?!," a hundred screen-glued readers cry. Well, friends, interludes.

Tiger And The Duke is really a glorified EP. The four "real" songs on here are all separated by electronic interludes that carry little-to-no regard for thematic connectivity sound-wise, and make up nearly half the length of the album. This is essentially an EP with filler masquerading as part of the "[fusion of] electronic, hardcore and progressive music" when the album could've been so much more had actual song craft been chosen over what currently resides in its place. The only consideration for cohesiveness is really represenative in "Act IV: You Don't Need A Witness," whose introductory riffs are actually just reused from "Act I," giving the album what would be sort of a "full circle" feel had it not been for the five-minute long "Postlude" that concludes the disc, which contains a whole lot of senseless, electronic noodling. All the programming here is basically random noises that contain no sound-wise affiliation with its supposed partners on the disc.

In the end, we're left with an album that falls far short of its potential. TSOAF definitely have the talent and creativity, as shown on all four Acts here, to paint a portrait of highly enjoyable progressive rock, with much more of a lively character than most prog delivers. Even with the influences present, everything that makes rock good, causing both air drum/guitar playing alike and spastic singing along is in the real songs, just with irritable intermissions disrupting flow and failing to qualify as anything more than bad acid trips.

Album sampler