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Tiger Army | II Power of Moonlite | review | rockabilly | psychobilly | punk | Lollipop
II: Power of Moonlite (Hellcat)
by Morgan Coe
If there is such a thing as "traditional" psychobilly, Tiger Army ain't it. Sure, they've got the upright bass, the horror movie lyrics, the wind tunnel haircuts, the Sailor Jerry tattoos and black eyeliner, and the Glenn-Danzig-fronting-the-Stray-Cats-at-78rpm delivery, but somehow they just don't nail it. Maybe it's the way singer/mastermind Nick 13's voice sounds forced most of the time, or the punk rock guitar that only remembers to throw in the odd quavery chord or psychobilly "lick" once or twice a song, or maybe it's the fact that the drummer doesn't play a psychobilly, rockabilly, or any other kind of -billy beat anywhere on the record. If you're expecting the Meteors, the Krewmen, or classic European psychobilly, you've been warned.
That said, Tiger Army's brand of "American psychobilly" (their words) has its moments: "Incorporeal" has a huge chorus that pushes Nick 13 out of his usual smug croon and into full-on Misfits territory. This must be what he's shooting for the rest of the time, because it fucking rules in spite of (or because of?) the generic "lovesick ghost trapped on earth" lyrics. "In The Orchard" is a country song that sounds like a darker Old 97s with clean guitars, pedal steel, the works - Mr. 13's Roy Orbison imitation isn't perfect, but it works here.
And then there's the bad news: Most of the record is ordinary "dark" punk rock unredeemed by the occasional bass or guitar break, and with a few exceptions the vocals are weak. Glenn Danzig could croon with balls; Tiger Army, well, they can simply croon... Lyrics tend towards the Gothic and pretentious: It's cool that you don't rhyme all the time, but that doesn't excuse you from revising your shit after the first draft. Too much "summer/autumn," too much "moon/stars," too much "roaming" and "prowling," too much "loneliness," and do we really need another song called "F.T.W." (with the phrase "I want to die" in the lyrics, no less!)? It all blends together, cutting room scraps from an imaginary Misfits album.
(2798 Sunset Blvd. Lost Angeles, CA 90026)