Here’s a quick questions directed to the scant few professional music journos still left out there endlessly cruising the inbox, the record store, and the net for new music - how often do you receive random mystery promos that aren’t from clueless 19-year old boys who just made the seamless transition from Bieber to Skrillex or the same pushy bunch of idiots who always bother you under some new guise and sub-label? It gets depressing sometimes, the existential reality sets in that maybe were all just floating around aimlessly cheering or jeering the same loops, moods, and progressions reassembled over and over, ad infinitum. Is this what music criticism has been reduced to? Well, between that and labels trying to buy favorable reviews or sociopath narcissists threatening writers for daring to even criticize their works it’s no wonder music journalists seem to kick it for the great gig in the sky somewhere between the ages of 35 and 45, to things like over-the-counter cold relief medication.
In rare instances at I Voice we get out-of-the-blue music that isn’t revolutionary – besides, if you’re over the age of 35 you’ve already been blessed with disco, punk, hip-hop, acid house, and techno so don’t fret over pop music’s current lack of focus, life has already been more than good to you.
The San Francisco duo the Synthe Tigers aren’t the next Richard James, they’re just two veteran producers who understand groove and simply tweak the same tired old elements in just the right way to tap into something primal, unrestrained, pure lurking beneath the surface. Goofy title aside, this EP does some serious business on the dance floor and is an excellent debut for both duo and label. It may not seem like much, but hours of endless digging sometimes has unforeseen rewards and that can counterbalance the growing sense of dread that we’ve gotten it all wrong.
The Synthe Tigers manage to combine two great elements together throughout this EP, starting with the title track, tough tech-house bass and disco-fied funk up top. It’s a classic West Coast sound and not that far removed from the work of California labels like Tango, Siesta, and Doubledown about ten years ago. Even the vocal snippet is a bit cheesy, but the way all of the elements come together and are sequenced suggests anything but tired. Tracks can be funny that way, there is always the thought that it’s just right mood and time that allows the artist to escape (or fry) from the harsh glare of the critic or perhaps there really is something to this track, one can hardly ever tell. Whatever the weird science involved, this track, like the bee, shouldn’t work properly and yet it does, that’s brilliant.
Is this the less sexual version of the title track? The vocal sample is just a sly rework of “I Love You”, it’s employed much differently here but there is a sense of musical restraint to match the theme of the title variation. This track is deeper, more hypnotic, and made for a different crowd. Spacy elements collide like subatomic particles with disco and tech creating a very unique sound that is part Salted and part Traumschallplatten, which is a pretty odd combo on paper, but in reality they are complementary,
The EP closes with “Thinking About You”and the first of the Detroit influences we hope these guy explore further in the future appears. Honestly, the other two tracks are decent but not good enough to get more than a passing grade until this subtle gem creeps up on the proceedings. There is a nice Kelli Hand vibe or those great old house records Mad Mike Banks used to make back in 1991-1992, that dividing between what is techno and what is house was blurred then and so it is now. The funky, Stax/Volt soul of the smoky vocals cinches the track tight and nirvana is attained if you just listen hard enough.
|Artist: The Synthe Tigers
Title: I Love You EP
Label: Mirrorball Records
TracklistI Love YouI Like ItThinking About You
Our rating: 8/10