Not blighted by being overly familiar with the previous efforts of Good Tiger’s personnel, I was able to enjoy that rare luxury of listening to a new record with absolutely no idea what it might sound like. Lucky me, because ‘A Head Full Of Moonlight’ offers 9 tracks of polished modern rock, with just enough prog, pop and hardcore thrown in to keep things interesting, and above all, original – I’m struggling to think of an album to compare this to.
A brand new outfit formed by ex-The Safety Fire guitarists Derya Nagle and Joaquin Ardiles with former Tesseract vocalist Elliot Coleman, completed by ex-The Faceless drummer Alex Rüdinger and Morgan Sinclair on bass, the five piece achieved an impressive crowd fund campaign of some £30,000 to record their debut. It shows, co-produced by Adam ‘Nolly’ Getgood (Periphery, Animals as Leaders), Derya Nagle (Möngöl Hörde, The Safety Fire) with Brandon Paddock (Set It Off, Volumes) and mastered by Kris Crummett (Issues, Sleeping with Sirens), you can hear the styles of all their collective experience coming through. Despite being recorded in three different studios all over the world, the album manages to maintain a natural pace throughout, a journey through chugging riffs one minute, delicate pick work the next, syncopated rhythms in to blast beats, but all done so concisely – this is a musicians band, they’re all excellent at what they do, and every arrangement is perfectly complimented by Coleman’s talent for awesome melody and just enough rough-with-the-smooth delivery. It’s a satisfying listen.
Opener ‘Where Are The Birds’ wouldn’t sound out of place on a Foals record, and is arguably the most instantly gratifying track on offer – staccato guitar licks and great 16th note hi-hat action. Recent single ‘Snake Oil’ packs quite the punch from the off, with a huge riff and dual rough / clean vocals and brings with it a Bronx / Alexisonfire vibe, progressing in to the first of many excellent breakdowns throughout the album – which puts them in pure Mars Volta territory.
It has to be said the rhythm section are absolutely clinical throughout, and it’s great to hear such a tight & talented unit not over-playing – it gives an awesome platform for the riffage and powerful vocals that make the difference on every track. ‘I Paint What I See’ nods to more pissed-off Circa Survive and Coheed & Cambria with sweeping gallops and soaring vocals, whilst ‘Latchkey Kids’ brings things down a touch with some nice clean guitar work and harmonics a-plenty. Another highlight is ‘Understanding Silence’ with a superb vocal, delivered acappella for the most part, paired with reverb-drenched guitar, before closer ‘’67 Pontiac Firebird’ reminds us where these lot have come from – the DIY rock and metal scene.
For me, this album sounds like the record the guys have wanted to make for a long time. Their hugely successful crowd funding is testament to the passion their fans have for the music.
“I think the aim for all of us with GOOD TIGER is to be as concise as possible while expressing ourselves as musicians and having a good time, hanging out and playing music with friends,” says Coleman.
That’s EXACTLY what this album sounds like. They don’t go over the top. They let us all know how annoyingly good at their instruments they are, but these are proper songs as well – the kind you find yourself putting straight back on again for another listen. But when the tune is done, it’s done, the breakdowns and free-flow pieces are just exactly what they need to be, to get you to the next part of the song – their music isn’t self-indulgent, where it so easily could have been. That could well be what sets them apart from their peers.
‘A Head Full Of Moonlight’ should find Good Tiger finding the exposure and audience this debut effort deserves. Check it out.
– Adam Lewis
Venue: A Head Full of Moonlight
Support Band: Self Release