After their sophomore slump F O R T R E S S, I seriously questioned the trajectory of Miniature Tigers. Having followed them since their exploits pre-Black Magic/White Magic EP, I’ve always had a soft spot for this Brooklyn-based cohort. With early favorites likes “Dino Damage,” “Baby Abroad,” and “Logan’s Bread is Lemons,” I expected much from their debut full length Tell It to the Volcano, and I was joyously satisfied by their charisma and charm. But just as that allure seemed to be overshadowed by their overindulgent pseudo-tribal act in F O R T R E S S, Miniature Tigers seems to have taken a hint and aimed for a much more refined and mature style in their latest release Mia Pharaoh.
From the unlabelled album cover to the record’s first six beats on “Sex On The Regular,” Miniature Tigers proclaims (quite sensuously, might I add) that their latest efforts onMia Pharaoh are quite the departure from their previous work. While tracks like “Flower Door” and “Boomerang” pay homage to their indie pop history on Tell It To the Volcano(complete with acoustic guitar, repetitive lyrics, and somewhat nursery-rhyme inspired melodic hooks), the tour de force of their third full-length album comes from “Female Doctor” and “Sex On The Regular,” both of which combine their love of exotic drum patterns with a new found penchant for sweeping disco synths. However, while these songs will probably champion as the go-to’s of Mia Pharaoh, repeated listening reveals some hidden gems in the haunting lyricism and layered instrumentals of “Ugly Needs” and the R&B downbeats and sexy interlude of “Angel Bath,” which by far exceed the sing-a-long expectations of the record’s singles. But perhaps most notable is the album’s stylistic diversity; from the beautifully textured piano ballad “Husbands and Wives” to the acoustic daydream “Hologram Girl” to the seducing electronica/soul soundscapes of “Pleasure Princess” (The Secret Handshake, anyone?), Miniature Tigers commands a weirdly addictive personality that will no doubt persist into 2012 summer mixtapes.
Gary Kafer is the DJ of The Gary Kafer Sugar Wafer (Mondays from 2-4pm @ WQHS.org)