Tiger Army – V •••– (2016)
After nine years in the wilderness, Tiger Army and Nick 13, the sweet prince of psychobilly, are back – and more bittersweet than ever. Nick 13’s a crooner. A poet. One part Morrissey. One part sad cowboy. One part quivering werewolf. And unlike his 2011 countrified solo release, V •••– is my kind of poison.
Like Tiger Army’s 2007 album Music from Regions Beyond, V •••– continues the band’s (Nick 13’s, really) progression towards a smoother, more accomplished ode to the moon, rather than a full-blown, kicking-and-screaming primal howl. Only this time, 13 has dropped the top and hit the evolutionary Route 66 with a full tank of gas.
The more you listen, the more the subtle nuances jump out at you, like sirens in the moonlight, gently dragging you towards unblinking nocturnal eternity. And from Mariachi trumpets, to Elvis Presley boogies, string-laden cowpoke jams, creepy Martian-sounding theremins (?) and disembodied operatic backing vocals, the band’s progression is breath-taking.
It’s heart-breaking. It slips through your fingers. It lurks in the depths of your mind. And the more you listen, the more beautiful it seems to become. It’s timeless, really, soaked with vintage, familiar-sounding ’50s and ’60s Americana flourishes and black-and-white noir haunts, yet it’s alive with something new. Modern, sentimental pop that’s not of this world.