Brothertiger

Out of Touch

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Brooklyn-based musician John Jagos has been making pleasantly lush synth pop under the Brothertiger banner since his undergrad days in Athens, Ohio. On his third LP, the Toledo native's gently warped sound still feels rooted in the detached pulse of chillwave, though his songwriting has evolved into a more personal, if subtle craft. As with previous Brothertiger releases, a wistful, daydreaming quality permeates the ten songs on Out of Touch and the 1980s still loom large in Jagos' catalog of references. "Jungle Floor," a lovely midtempo ballad that plays like a D.I.Y. hybrid between Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" and any number of Dream Academy songs, is a nice example of both Brothertiger's strengths and weaknesses. As a songwriter, Jagos has an easy way with a melody that comfortingly tugs the heartstrings, though his production and overall stylistic tone feel somewhat locked into a certain mold and a fairly inoffensive one at that. The field of '80s-inspired bedroom bards creating introspective synth-based music is a crowded one, and artists working within that milieu can have a tough time distinguishing themselves. Tracks like "Wake" and "Fall Apart" are well-made pop songs that don't necessarily leap out of the speakers, yet are rewarding with repeated listens. Likewise, the sunny, laid-back vibe of "Upon Viridian Waterways" reveals yet another delicate shade on Brothertiger's palette, though it's hardly begging for attention. The increasing use of more organic live instrumentation on Out of Touch does add some additional flavor to Jagos' growing canon of music, but digging into this mild-mannered record will still take some effort.

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