Papier Tigre – Recreation
Bands that name themselves with the ‘hard-soft’ naming convention may do so to suggest the diversity of their sound. This concept fits perfectly for French rockers Papier Tigre who describe their music as ‘challenging punk [that] combines elements of experimental pop compositions and aggressive math-rock’. After listening to ‘Recreation’ I think they are overselling their ‘heavy’ side to some extent. Tigre‘s songs rise and fall between soft and hard melodies, and fast and slow beats and the soft and hard seem to be fairly equal in proportion.
The album definitely has intense spirited moments, overall it is a rock album; but the intensity seems measured. There is never sustained aggression on any of the tracks; the builds always fade away into something slower. I never felt Papier Tigre were going to smash guitars or kick over speakers. Instead, the songs on ‘Recreation’ tend to somewhat wander down musical cul-de-sacs.
Vocalist Eric Pasquereau delivers Tigre lyrics in a clean, understandable, almost understated manner. The band bases a lot of their material on starting and stopping of melodies in their songs to create little moments of silence. This can be a powerful technique. Silence, sound! Silence, sound! Papier Tigre use this technique with varying degrees of success, most successfully on tracks ‘Afternoons’, ‘Home Truth’ and ‘The Later Reply’.
Sometimes however the time changes felt like a distraction and disconnected from the enjoyable melody that they were developing. Tigre mold some compelling grooves together – why cut me away from them? Tracks such ‘Teenage Lifetime’ exemplify this.
The musicianship is very good throughout the album. The band possesses a ton of creativity and passion. Drummer Pierre-Antoine Parois creates perfect backdrops for the jangly riffs to rise and fall from guitarists Eric Pasquereau and Arthur de La Grandière. The upbeat and bouncy track ‘Chimera’ illustrates the tight sound the band can exhibit. Ultimately however the potential of Papier Tigre felt caged on ‘Recreation’. The songs too often felt hampered by awkwardly placed rhythms and disjointed musical interludes, often creating a lack of continuity and an uneven listen.
The creative potential in this band is very palpable. If they can refine their awkward incorporation of loud and soft Papier Tigre could create something brilliant.
Released March 05 2012 through AfricanTape
Posted by Dave Guzda
Tags: Africantape, album review, Dave Guzda, Papier Tigre, Recreation