Daniel Striped Tiger - Capital Cities (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Daniel Striped Tiger

Capital Cities (2007)

Clean Plate

Almost a year and a half ago I reviewed Daniel Striped Tiger's first full-length, Condition. It was mostly favorable, but Condition didn't really hit me the way I was hoping. For whatever reason, its full-length followup, the compact, seven-song Cities, sounds different in a lot of ways, but I still feel the same exact way about the band: They write solid, creative songs that unfortunately remain fairly forgettable.

In this process of progression, Daniel Striped Tiger seem to have become a little more instrumental-dependent and a lot less jazzy. An interesting instrumental of sorts in "Shadow in the Snow" opens Cities after all, with the briefly spastic post-hardcore attack of "Defense Mechanism" coming immediately after. DST do these little bursts of intensity well, but there's no real hook ever to be found -- no one's asking for pop songwriting elements, but some quality to instill memorability would do them worlds of good. These bursts are enjoyable, be certain, and when the band roll along some sectional changes, from propelled drum rolls to jagged guitar workouts ("Flags and Capital Cities") it's entertaining. But urges to throw on the record to listen in again seem unlikely.

I really don't want to discredit Daniel Striped Tiger. They're a good band, but one that seems to consistently write only decent and relatively directionless songs. Their records are quick, arty practices in noisy jams, but even as veterans one can't help but feel they're a bit outclassed by their more powerful and younger New England peers.