The Tiger and Me - From a Liar to a Thief (2010 LP)


I’m running away to join a circus. A travelling circus. I’ll walk on my stilts, play my violin and drink a whole lot of red wine.

Seriously. And while I do it, I hope I cross paths with the troupe of musicians who call themselves The Tiger And Me. They can serenade me as I go.

Or, I’ll just crank their new album ‘From a Liar to a Thief’ as my soundtrack to this elusive, carefree life as a gypsy-circus-stilt walker. And that would just about do the trick.

For a debut album, this six-piece from Melbourne have certainly produced something very impressive. Horns, accordions, keys and a fiddle: the multi-instrumental talents of each member are unashamedly boasted throughout the twelve tracks.

The Tiger and Me were founded back in ’06 by Jane and Ade, who have since been joined by Saraj, Tim, Tobias and Fez. The pack is renowned for their energetic live performances, which have resulted in a respectable fan-base and media coverage from Triple J.

Beginning with a gentle cabaret tune, "Oh My Darlin’", The Tiger and Me manage to fit an unbelievable variety of genres into this album: soft folk in "Dangerous Creatures", classic big band in "Big Trapeze", and the edgy, catchy, gypsy rhythm heard in "Lead a Merry Dance Around the Fire". The latter is certainly a highlight, starting off slow and gradually gaining momentum, before culminating in a tempo that would inevitably invoke a jig or two. "I Left the Wolves Behind That Night" is also one that is heading towards the top of my ‘most played’ playlist, for a similar reason!

Primarily, though, The Tiger and Me is simply an indie-pop group, but with a unique traditional, European-folk twist. The lead vocals from Ade and Jane complement the ukulele, banjo, piano accordion, drums-and zillions of other instruments-perfectly. The founding duo produce an impeccable harmony, but they mostly go solo to accompany the instrumental feast produced by their fellow band-members.

As banal it may be to claim that an album may ‘take one on a journey’, listening to From a Liar to a Thief made me feel far, far away from the dreary quotidian activities most of us put up with. Contagiously catchy yet not over-the-top, this music is escapism at its best. My only complaint is there should be a few more fast-paced spectacle tunes, as that is where their distinct, amazing individuality lies.

Although my desire to runaway to the circus may be a little far-fetched, it is nonetheless at the forefront of my mind. Gypsy, cabaret merry-making seems to be a reality to these talented folk-or at least they have convinced me as much. A little more red wine and perhaps I won’t be far off. Meanwhile, hitting the replay button on tracks Big Trapeze and The Circus or the Zoo will have to suffice.

Review Score: 9/10

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