Lay with the Animal

There’s not a whiff of Pacific Northwest rain in Mighty Tiger, perhaps because the Seattle band’s members hail from other parts of the country. The five-piece achieves something close to chamber pop on its debut album, Western Theater, released on the Nashville label Paper Garden. At 52 minutes, the record is brimming with ideas and ambition, often manifesting in tides of vocal harmonies. Built around immaculate piano and guitar, songs like “33 1/3” and “Signature Cup” summon Harry Nilsson, while the smart-alecky “Hands in Holy Water” makes a lyrical nod to Donovan’s “Sunshine Superman,” and the highlight “Chibi Girl” procures lonesome banjo and chirping birds. The album’s seven-minute centerpiece, “The Most American Thing in America,” hits its climax not unlike Pet Sounds–era Beach Boys. There’s even some country in the female-sung “The Last Mountaineer.” Through all those assorted detours, Mighty Tiger retains an infectious ease to its vocals and arrangement, feeling downright placid despite the obvious care that goes into every aspect of the songs. It may take time for the band to prove itself in today’s buzz-driven, high-turnover climate, but Western Theater lingers dreamily in your mind.
Sat., March 27, 7:30 p.m., 2010

 
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