Three Trapped Tigers - Silent Earthling
Progressive music has been enjoying something of a minor resurgence in recent years with niche festivals such as ArcTanGent and similar attracting ever-larger audiences. Three Trapped Tigers have for some time been one of the most celebrated newer acts of this movement, and five years after the release of their debut Route One or Die the London ‘noise-rock’ trio’s eagerly awaited second album has arrived.
The complex riffs and idiosyncratic arrangements that define the band’s sound are all present and correct on Silent Earthling, though in a slightly more refined manner than we’ve heard on past releases. There’s nothing quite as dark or intense as the heaviest moments on Route One or Die, but similarly there is a vitality and emotive resonance amidst all the virtuoso musicianship on display, and the nine tracks are positively bursting with ideas. Many bands fuse guitar and electronic elements but few pull it off with such creative élan. Matt Calvert’s guitar and Tom Rogerson’s keyboards are often smothered in a plethora of colourful FX, at times playing seemingly contradictory parts and at others both establishing the same epic theme. Both are underpinned by the manic yet precise grooves of drummer Adam Betts, who seems to utilise every square inch of his kit (stands and all), most noticeably on the tense and moody 'Hemisphere'.
'Tekkers' sees the band take something of a step back and focus almost purely on groove, with staccato guitar and a propulsive, head-nodding beat. There’s a distinctly playful tone to be found in the stuttering, dissonant chaos of 'Rainbow Road' and in the mid-section of 'Blimp', which is all whammy-pedal guitar and noodling melodies in a strange jazz-like tonality. Silent Earthling is a stellar and welcome return for a band who sound only like themselves.