Tigers That Talked
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Tigers That Talked

Leeds, England, United Kingdom | SELF

Leeds, England, United Kingdom | SELF
Band Alternative New Age


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Sometimes we let down the ones we love the most, it's not intentional it's just human nature...so having excitedly received my copy of the debut Tigers That Talked album back in November around it's release, i've listened and listened to it, enjoyed it a hell of a lot, but not sat down and wrote about...

....so sorry to the band and sorry to our readers, if you don't already then you deserved to know about this before now.

The Merchant has been much anticipated following the singles and EPs that the group have released over the last couple of years and it's good to see that tracks like Artificial Clouds and Black Heart, Blue Eyes haven't been discarded, making the final cut of the album alongside newer tracks.

The Leeds four piece may have taken their time in releasing the album, but it's worth the wait from the instrumental opener of Intro it takes you on a beautifully constructed journey with some sumptious arrangements complimenting the emotional vocal delivery.

Cleverly they don't stick at one pace throughout, mixing things up nicely from the clap along nature of Holy Saturday, Gloomy Sunday, to the moody brilliance of Wrestling With The Wolfcubs, the ballad like title track and The Earth And The Urn that ebbs and flows so gracefully along, no note is wasted and you never feel like your listening to filler as each track carries a weight of intensity to it.

While the guitar and violin grab your attention on most of the tracks alongside the vocals, on And I'm Caring it's the drums that really stand out for me, the control in the percussion gives a lovely contrast to the pent up frustration that is near the surface in the vocals, making for an enthralling listen and a surprise favourite of mine on the album.

So, as the saying goes it's better late than never as far as my review goes...as far as the album goes though they really couldn't have done a better job with this. - The Beat Surrender

I'm not sure if it was intentional or not but when I listen to the first two songs of The Merchant in sequence I automatically think, "this is absolutely how they've gotta start their concerts." No lights on the stage, just the aural productions of the first track "Intro" playing with lush vocals from Jamie Williams. The song swells, recedes slightly, and then flows right into the rockin' affair that is "23 Fears", and a rockin' affair it is. Somehow, "23 Fears" finds away to feel powerful, somewhat happy, but also more complex emotionally than the listener could ever understand in the first listen. That is what Tigers That Talked do so well. Their violindie (violin + indie) music travels across so many emotions, so smoothly.

"Artificial Clouds" is a personal favorite of mine off the album. It shares the same gusto of "23 Fears" but it doesn't take off immediately, in fact at the beginning it doesn't feel like it's going to take off at all. Then the violin comes in, plays a little prelude to the chorus and boom baby, deliciousness flows into your ears.

At this point in the review, it may seem like I am going to talk about each song individually... I am not, but I will talk about a few more and then the album as a whole quickly. Hopefully you are cool with that. The funny thing about it is the next song I'm going to talk about is the next song on the album, the title track.

The thing I love about "The Merchant" so much is the light, syncopated hip-hop beat that plays through the duration of the song. It isn't a bad ass, thuggin' song in the sense you would normally think, but it suits the melancholy well.

One of my favorite moments in the album occurs in "Wrestling With The Wolfcubs". It starts off pretty sleepy, which let me be clear, I do not mean sleepy in a boring way. I mean in a beautiful way, but that isn't the point. The song builds, and eventually there is a moment that makes me stop in motion every time. When the music becomes slightly more rigid thats when the moment occurs. It's like a breakdown in a power punk song but not as crazy intense.

The last song I'm going to talk about, "Waves", is one that rang an Arcade Fire bell for me. It doesn't sound like a carbon copy at all, but something about the way that everything falls together reminds me of the triumphant sounds of Funeral. In my mind, that is a huge compliment, so hopefully the band and all you faithful readers take it as such.

All in all, The Merchant is not an album you'd want to listen to if you are looking to party, BUT if you wanna listen to good fucking music, then give "Intro" a double-click on your iTunes and let the whole album envelop you with it's vast landscape of melancholy and some sprinklings of joy. Seriously, Tigers That Talked are a band to keep an eye on. - Music That Isn't Bad

Calling a band 'the next (insert well-known band here)' is both a blessing and a curse. The potential that such comparisons point to can often go unfulfilled, and the hype machine can often get it disastrously wrong. We're of the opinion that new bands have no business being 'the next' anyone, and should always seek to succeed on their own merits.

One easy, knock-off comparison that could be made in this review is that Tigers That Talked are the 'British successor to Arcade Fire' or something equally as ludicrous. There isn't a band around quite like Arcade Fire; sure, being the higly influential band that they are, lots of other groups show hints of their sound, but that's as far as it goes, and the same is true here: TTT have a violinist in their line-up, but that's where the similarities end.

'The Merchant', their long-awaited debut record, finds them sounding like quite a few different bands, but when the sum of the album's parts is considered, they nearly always end up doing their own thing. The epic qualities that inform tracks such as recent single '23 Fears' and album centrepiece 'The Earth And The Urn' (the latter of which is referenced in the record's introduction) ensure that this record will find favour with stadium rock aficionados.

The group's folk-rock material is worthy of note, with 'Artificial Clouds' and 'Wrestling With The Wolfcubs' both boasting melodies that are impossible to shake after only a few listens.

However, it is when they step out of their comfort zone that Tigers That Talked truly excel. The gentle electronic beats that underpin the album's title track add an entire other dimension to the song, an affecting portrayal of an average life gone horribly wrong. 'Holy Saturday, Gloomy Sunday', meanwhile, is three songs in one, moving from an uptempo, handclap-laden pop song into a waltzing lament, and from there into a furiously fast, thunderous finish. It's quite the breathtaking song, and is without a doubt the highlight of an album that contains not one sub-par effort. These Tigers could be a roaring success with a debut like this. - This is Fake DIY

I’ve been waiting for some time for new music by the Leeds based band known as TIGERS THAT TALKED since they played our Future Sounds Presents showcase at Manchester’s In The City. What I remember most is the vocal potential of frontman, Jamie Williams, who has a Chris Martin-like potential ahead of him. Today’s SOTD is a finished version of the track, “23 Fears” that I’ve grown up with since it was a demo. - Futuresounds

Debut albums that arrive fully formed are few and far between. It takes a rare and exceptional artist to create a debut album that sounds the product of a self confident and well established band. Tigers that Talked is immediately accessible, yet their musical arrangements are complex and nuanced. Their album, The Merchant was released with little fanfare, despite critically acclaimed reviews, but it deserves far more applause. Admittedly, they do sound a little like Arcade Fire, but there is enough of a difference between the two that any similarity is downplayed. There are no discernible weak tracks in the entirety of the album, and several standout tracks include 23 Fears, Artificial Clouds, and Black Heart, Blue Eyes.
Listen to a particularly impressive track, Black Heart, Blue Eyes here. - Avant Faire

Tigers That Talked: “23 Fears (Summer 10)”
This young UK quartet is building buzz in the indie scene across the pond, gathering accolades from NME, Q Magazine, and BBC Radio. Utilizing a guitar/bass/drums/violin setup, they combine “pop hooks infectious enough to snag the mainstream with the laconic romanticism of folk”, creating music that is by turns romantic, haunting, and introspective. The band has released a handful of self-produced EPs over the past few years, and are poised to drop their first proper album, “The Merchant”, in just a few weeks. Click here to grab a free track and sneak a peek at this up-and-coming group. - Topspin Media

Adapting their name from a Paul Brattigan novel and venturing on the sentimental landscapes of sound commonly found in the grooves of Arcade Fire, Temper Trap and the more downbeat moments of Mew, Tigers That Talked are slowly evolving into mastering a scene where the pedestal is high and unsuccessful climbers are frequent.

Not that taking a tumble seems likely for this Leeds quartet. Artificial Cloud is a rather beautiful, Elbow-esque piece of composition, its melancholic chorus being an obvious centrepiece. - Q Music

It’s happened again. I’ve fallen for another band. This time the sound of Tigers that Talked have moved me to write another post. I discovered them circuitously through Topspin. Then I found out Richard Jones is managing them and got even more excited about their future.

Their tunes have taken me for some nice rides in all kind of settings. There’s a soft intensity about their grooves and a dramatic feel in their rises. They have a crisp and soothing blend of rock and folk with songs suited for an arena of 50,000 or a neighborhood coffeeshop.

I guess my vague descriptions of their sound aren’t really convincing you. No matter, check out their Artificial Clouds video for a small idea on what they’re about.
- Mad Respect

Released at the end of 2010, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Tigers That Talked have missed a golden opportunity to market The Merchant as 2011’s first big album. But as soon as you start listening to this, the band’s full-length debut, it’s not long before you understand why they were so eager to share it.

Only a few minutes in and you’ll be overcome by the uplifting ’23 Fears’ and delightful ‘Artificial Clouds’; the album’s catchiest and most accessible moments by far. Surely destined for much success, their beautifully haunting sound at times recalls early Guillemots.

‘Holy Saturday, Gloomy Sunday’ and ‘Waves’ both shine mid-album, with violinist Glenna Larsen’s superb orchestration perfectly complimenting Jamie Williams’ fragile vocals. Elsewhere, more urgent, percussive-driven tracks such as ‘And I’m Caring’ and ‘Black Heart, Blue Eyes’ offer up shades of Arcade Fire; the latter feeling like a lost track from the Canadians’ debut album Funeral.

However this album’s biggest achievement is in its pacing. Where lesser bands with such a bold sound have all too often made the mistake of becoming too repetitive and samey, The Merchant constantly switches from soaring highs to sobering melancholy. The result is an album that flows seamlessly; with each track less of an individual song, but more of a smaller part a collective whole. Equally exhausting and exhilarating, it will have you going back for more, over and over again.

Without even the subtlest hint of pretension creeping in, Tigers That Talked have delivered what can only be described as an absolutely stunning debut; one that shows ambition, innovation and maturity. A shoe-in for a 2011 Mercury Prize Nomination? You heard it here first. - Vibrations

Tigers That Talked
The George Tavern, London, 05/10/09

Rousing a lacklustre Monday night pub crowd is no easy feat, but by the closing bars of opening track ’23 fears’, we’ve all been won over. Masters of the slow brood, ‘Black Heart, Blue Eyes’ and new single ‘Artificial Clouds’ ebb and flow with filmic elegance, swaying between maudlin melodrama and frenzied crescendos thanks to the band’s driving force, the infinitely talented violinist Glenna. The band go all out for the final track ‘Holy Saturday, Gloomy Sunday’, the frantic fiddling and handclaps transforming it into a Celtic jig.

Tessa Harris


Weapon E.P.
23 Fears Single
Black Heart, Blue Eyes E.P.
Artificial Clouds Single
23 Fears (Summer '10)
The Merchant (Album)
Battles E.P.



From assorted corners of the UK and Europe, but currently making their beautiful and original music in Leeds after gravitating towards the city’s current artistic and creative renaissance, Tigers That Talked are bassist Owain Kelly, half-Norwegian violinist Glenna Larsen, drummer Chris Verney and guitarist & singer Jamie Williams.

By twisting Glenna's effect-adorned strings and Jamie's haunting vocals around a pulsing rhythm section, the band strike a subtle balance between the anthemic and the experimental. Creating a multi-layered, intensely beautiful music that can be in turns euphoric, rousing and haunting, and coupled with the band’s frenzied live energy, Tigers That Talked create an explosive & dynamic sound that has lead NME to describe them as 'Masters of the slow brood, ebbing and flowing with filmic elegance, swaying between maudlin melodrama and frenzied, multi-layered crescendos”.

Since releasing their debut single Tigers That Talked have received plaudits from all corners of UK press & radio such as NME, The Fly, Q, The Times & This is Fake DIY through to BBC Radio 1, 2 and 6 's Lauren Laverne, Zane Lowe, Dermot O'Leary, Tom Robinson, XFM's Jon Kennedy and were recently hailed as 'my new favourite band' by BBC's influential Steve Lamacq.