Spring Tigers

Spring Tigers

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To say something is exuberant guitar-driven pop/rock from the U.K. is almost to impose a straitjacket -- especially after the continuing impact of Oasis' fame completely changing expectations for what success should be. On this level, Spring Tigers are classically of a piece -- a quintet with hooks, riffs, melodies, and ultimately nothing that's exactly surprising after decades of a form to play around with and constantly redefine and return to. Still, what Spring Tigers bring to their debut American EP is a little something unexpected around the corners here and there that could promise more for the future. Part of it is the smooth, sometimes deeper vocals of Kris Barratt, eschewing aggro whine for something that suggests the easy charisma of Adam Ant, a comparison readily heard at points on songs like "Hyboria." Another element worth noting comes courtesy of keyboardist Stephen James -- there's nothing unexpected about his parts per se (Brian Eno in early Roxy Music this isn't), but there's a cheery exuberance that adds some happy helium throughout, as can be heard on the lovely break on "Just Suggesting." Add in a swagger and kick throughout that -- just -- calls to mind some of the more breezy moments of the eternally underrated Menswear, and if Spring Tigers are still in the getting started phase, there's more here to suggest future possibilities than many of their sub-Libertines compatriots can produce.

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