Fire Tiger – Energy
Album Review of Fire Tiger: Energy
Some of the best albums start with a few catchy songs that reel the listener in. They’re followed by a few cuts that quickly grow in their appeal, and finally there are the remaining tracks whose unique features reveal themselves after repeated listens. Before long, the album is an enjoyable old friend beginning-to-end.
My first exposure to Fire Tiger was through its two most hook-laden songs – the fast-paced, energetic, catchy “Energy” and the slowly-building, soaring mid-tempo rocker “Green Light.” Stylistically, those two tracks recall Mannequin soundtrack-era Starship. In this comparison, Tiffany Alkouri’s vocals split the difference between Mickey Thomas and Grace Slick.
The third quickly memorable tune is a sort of tempo-changing ballad, “He Has Changed.” At its core, it’s a strumming and picking folk song (replete with harmonica) with a memorable hook in the chorus. And it features a great tearjerker of a video you won’t forget once you see it.
The rest of Energy showcases the depth and breadth of Tiff Akouri and James Ramsey’s songwriting skills. Spanning the spectrum of pop-rock music while incorporating a broad range of influences and employing a variety of catchy sound devices, this disc is about as varied as you could ask for, all while sounding like a cohesive collection from recognizably the same band.
I think the ’80s comparisons in Fire Tiger reviews are accurate because this is a keyboard-heavy rock band; Fire Tiger conspicuously features a keyboard/synth sound without sacrificing its rock ‘n roller street cred. And that’s very ’80s, the decade of the keytar. That’s the ’80s sound that causes people to reference that decade when describing Fire Tiger. And this band embraces its trademark sound, applying it to a set of original, catchy rock songs.
Within the Fire Tiger sound, Tiff’s vocals are memorable and unique. She has a strong lower register, as in “Looking At Us,” a song that opens with Tiffany clearly channeling Stevie Nicks. She also exudes serious rock attitude with vocal flourishes like the opening “rock grunt” of “Just” and the stylized “oh-oh”s in “Count Dracula.”
Several songs elicit increasing affection over multiple listens. Album-opener “Fancy War Dance,” for example, kicks off the disc with an uncommon, memorable opening – accomplishing one of the primary jobs of a first track, which is to be identifiable. This tune is remarkable for the war chant-inspired supporting vocals you’ll catch yourself singing along with and a subtly catchy guitar hook, while the song itself is driven equally by its guitar line and energetic keyboard work.
Also worth noting is energetic, synth-driven “Wall of Technology,” a catchy tune that even features a snippet of JFK’s moon mission speech while seemingly incongruously driving home a message of the distancing effect of technology relative to human contact.
Throughout Energy‘s ten tracks, Fire Tiger showcases its range, bringing ’80s style to the 2010s, wrapped tightly in well-written, catchy, enduring songs. Because as with all music, no matter how well-performed, it always comes back to the songwriting.
Fire Tiger doesn’t currently have any upcoming shows listed on its website, but here’s where you’ll find them when they do.