Being Fond of Tigers

Being <b>Fond of Tigers</b>
Although it’s not apparent on their records or when they blast into songs live, there’s a good chance that Fond of Tigers don’t really know what they’re doing. The Vancouver-based, seven-man band is a powerful new force in the hazy realm of post-rock/jazz occupied by Do Make Say Think, Tortoise, and other proponents of sustained noise/groove sonic exploration. Fond of Tigers’ approach, however, is quite temperamental, with cacophonous explosions of percussion and guitar underlying wild strains of trumpet and violin, only to drop out for unexpected, ambient glimmers of a once-roaring piece.

Speaking with lead composer and guitarist Stephen Lyons about their stunning new record, Release the Saviours, it’s clear that a bit of happenstance colours the band’s methods. "I was anticipating shorter, sort of accessible songs and it went the other way completely,” he laughs. "I should learn that if I want short and tight, I’ll get long and sprawling.”

Lyons and his band-mates modestly convey a sense of accomplishment discussing Release the Saviours. Compared to their 2006 debut, A Thing to Live With, there’s greater assurance within their interplay, partially due to sussing out the group’s strengths. "It isn’t really productive to work as a seven-piece, so we work in different sub-groupings and have rehearsals with different people to create little parts,” Lyons explains. "Sometimes we’ll be playing a show and that’s the first time we’ll all hear the song together. It can be surprising.”

"We’ve developed an unspoken understanding playing with each other over the years that took a while for us to figure out,” drummer Skye Brooks admits. "It’s somewhat complicated music and it’s rhythmically challenging. We get comfortable with the composed aspects of the music and Stephen has specific things in mind, but he gives us lots of freedom and trusts us to do our thing.”