Fond of Tigers A Thing to Live With

Let it be said right now: this debut seven-track EP from Vancouver’s Fond of Tigers is not a disc you’re going to find yourself dialling up on your iPod for a day of shopping. Far from a casual listen, this captivating set of pseudo-orchestral nu-jazz demands either one’s full attention — or no attention at all, depending on how you feel about music that sounds like it’s not doing much, but is, in fact, doing lots. This instrumental septet’s fusion of scattershot improvisation and tightly-arranged composition culminates in a sound that falls somewhere in between the Shining’s flashy franticness and Precious Father’s more composed approach to melody. A Thing to Live With blooms to life with "The Suburbs Are For Lovebirds,” a slowly revelling crescendo of cymbals and strings rises like a beast from a long hibernation before lumbering towards the twitchy staccato guitar and violin intro of "North.” Darting recklessly around a central melody before descending into a noisy clutter of squeaks and clicks that celebrates not music, exactly, but the sounds instruments create in the process of music. Moments like this may make for a tough listen to the less musically nerdy, but still, there are plenty of moments of truly exhilarating composition here, as in the pairing of "Here, You Are Hated” and "Here You Are, Hated,” the seeming focus and apex of the album. The album then descends into the final track, "Parade Rehearsal,” a sonic bookend that brings us back to the vast expanses of the album’s opening notes, where after a ten-minute hike across this landscape the listener is finally sent off with the record’s most traditionally melodious moment in the final two minutes. It’s a fitting end to a wonderfully expressive disc and an accomplished and confident debut. (Drip Audio)