Release Date: Apr 1, 2016
Record label: Superball Music
'I think the problem for anyone striving to create their own sound is, once you – hopefully – have achieved that, how do you expand that whilst maintaining it?' This is the dilemma that guitarist and keyboardist Matt Calvert suggests Three Trapped Tigers have been wrestling with over the last five years. Yes, it really is five whole years (well, almost) since Three Trapped Tigers unleashed their debut album – the magnificent [Route One or Die}(http://drownedinsound.com/releases/16245/reviews/4142739) – upon the world. Having followed the band since around the time that they released their second EP (way back in 2009), the genius of that album came as little surprise to me.
It’s been a full five years since Three Trapped Tigers released their noisy glitter bomb debut Route One Or Die. Have they spent the intervening years doing metaphorical crane kicks in an effort to become grandmasters of their art? Well, if the opening track is anything to go by, then yes. Though not a revolution in terms of their overall sound, the title track is a declaration that suggests that their powers have grown strong since we last clapped ears on them.
The question of genre seems particularly important in the case of instrumental music. When a band is held together by a vocalist, their sound can comfortably move from rock to folk to punk to pop, since they will remain tied in some degree to the conventions of the song structure in popular music, which ultimately go back to the blues of the early 20th century. But when there is no vocalist there is less to hold the sound together, to provide that link to the roots of the form: that might be very liberating and exciting, but perhaps it’s for that reason that instrumental music tends to stay in one of two camps.
With their debut album ‘Route One Or Die’, Three Trapped Tigers ascended to the very top in their scene of Leftfield British rock bands. A sea of spiky, restless synth work and drums to thrash around to, the album teamed intricacy and brute force perfectly. ‘Silent Earthling’ leans towards the brutal end of the band’s repertoire, with chunky riffs replacing the more sprawling synth lines seen on ‘Route One…’.
If there’s anything that Three Trapped Tigers aren’t, it’s silent. Crashing onto the scene almost eight years ago with their numbered EPs and the 2011 debut Route One or Die, the classically trained trio put a classy yet chaotic spin on the slippery ‘noise-rock’ tag, and the result far transcends the terrestrial. Silent Earthling, the band’s second full-length, is a bit of a misnomer then, and has prompted none other than Brian Eno to described the trio as “cutting edge”.