Album Review Three Trapped Tigers - Numbers 1-13

A thrillingly unabashed, often noisy mix of heavy electronica and guitars.

Bringing together Three Trapped Tigers’ three EPs into one numerically sequenced package can only be good news for those who may have missed them the first time round. Even three years on from the release of ‘EP1’ back in 2008, there’s little to compare them to of any note in the current musical landscape, such is their unrelenting creativity that flows through their work on show in ‘Numbers 1-13’.

Predictability, or more accurately the lack thereof, proves to be the band’s greatest strength. Three Trapped Tigers create a hyperactive world that rejects conformity. Familiarity with their intense electronic rhythms is always short-lived as the band thrive on shifting their weight frequently within tracks, playing freely with tempo and density of noise that can be somewhat disorientating on initial listens to the album. From the mesmerising opening track simply titled ‘1’, which manages to cram in more frenetic energy than any song ought to in a mere four and a half minutes, to the dizzying glitches and beats of an 80s arcade emporium in your head that is the latter half of ‘3’, this is exhaustive but rewarding work.

Brief respite comes in the form of ‘4’, which for the first three minutes at least, is a soothing meditation of piano and randomised beats, before mutating into a beautifully disjointed piece of work punctuated by crashing drums and off-kilter time signatures. At their most intense, theirs is a sound that can be hard to ingest. Take ‘8’ for example, which pulsates with the harsh thrash of simply too much going on before deciding which route to take, ending up more super-powered Battles than 65daysofstatic.

Three Trapped Tigers play a thrillingly unabashed, often noisy mix of heavy electronica and guitars that is as exciting as anything they have (re)produced, or even bettered, in their debut album ‘Route One Or Die’ released in 2011. For every moment of unconstrained chaos, there is corresponding moment, however fleeting, of resolute calmness. ‘9’ is accompanied with a haunting voice loop that slides us gently into the final third of the album, which throws in one last curve ball in ‘13’. Eschewing the natural instinct to throw everything into the mix for the big finale, they instead make a nod towards Fuck Buttons, carefully and skilfully layering the grooves and bass lines into a surprisingly calculated finale.

Completely nonsensical at times, ‘Numbers 1-13’ is an intriguing piece of work that flows remarkably well despite the year-long gaps between the EPs ‘1’ to ‘3’. Thanks to the band’s brave displays of eclecticism and their unwavering desire for creating exciting slabs of noise, what results is a crucial body of work that thrills the mind as much as it makes the ears sore.

 

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