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Psapp - Tiger, My Friend

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Artist: Psapp

Album: Tiger, My Friend

Label: Leaf

Review date: Jan. 10, 2005

It’s easy to lose yourself within Tiger, My Friend, in its multiple layers of sound, with new textures and counter-melodies revealing themselves with each listen. From the whimsical band name to the absurdist cover art and animal references (“About Fun” utilizes a cat’s meow as percussion), it’s clear – something special is going on here.

Psapp's music is so beautifully complex that upon first listen it might seem a bit haphazard or amateurish – with all its bells, whistles, whizzes and whirrs – but after repeated listens, the oddities take on a precise purpose and fit perfectly within the melodic structure.

The London-based male/female duo of Carim Clasmann and Galia Durant have a background as producers (Clasmann having worked with such diverse names as Einstürzende Neubauten, Natacha Atlas, and Susheela Raman), yet the intricate production work doesn't overshadow Durant's vocals or the unabashed pop nature of the songs.

"Rear Moth" begins with what sounds like a duo of didjeridoos, followed by some shuffling percussion, strings and marimbas. A rubber duckie squawks here and there, and Durant’s wordless vocals emerge like a warm blanket: “ahMMMMMMMMM, ahMMMMMMMM.” An apt comparison might be Pram – especially on a track like this with it’s odd time signature and exotic flourishes.

On other tracks like “Curuncula,” Psapp ends up sounding more like Four Tet or maybe The Books – they share a similar ability to take spliced samples and staccato drum beats and make something that resonates with emotion.

The studio Psapp recorded Tiger, My Friend in was bulldozed to the ground shortly after the record was finished, to make way for Network Rail's Kings Cross expansion plans. This might seem like a bad omen, and indeed, I have a feeling we may never hear from them again (they probably won’t be touring across the small towns of the United States anytime soon), but they have given us a headphone record that, at times, sounds too good to be true.

By Daniel M. Gill

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