Idle Tigers The Spirit Salon

Ross Hawkins, aside from being Idle Tigers, is a British dandy of the first order. On the 16 brief songs/stories that comprise Spirit Salon, he flits with such fey and literary airiness as to make Colin Meloy sound like Norman Mailer. But all this is, in fact, a good thing. Having relocated from England to Toronto, his luggage seems to have been packed with analogue synths, wiggly Casio keyboards and golden memories of the pre-WWI Albion. The combination of these elements, along with Hawkins’ très clever lyrics and half-spoken approach to vocals, brings to mind Momus (who unremarkably has been a keen supporter) channelling Eric Idle. You could drop a few verses from "I Like Chinese” or "The Penis Song” into Hawkins’ ode to the pants-less elderly, "Put Your Trousers On,” without spoiling the flow. The use of electronics facilitates Idle Tigers’ (mostly) one-man-band status and seldom undercuts the anachronistic lyricism. Even the most space aged of tracks, like "The Small Electrical Lieutenant,” still sound like they could be paraphrasing Wilfred Owen. You won’t find a better album to bring alive your indie salon evenings this summer. Very witty, Wilde. (Le Grand Magistery)