Distortion is aplenty, albeit less heightened, and there are still aspects of adolescent grievances here, but there is a new-found introspection present, evinced on the downbeat brilliance of "Too Sad To Tell You" and "Sleeping In The Backseat" which, even at its most soporific, has its hurried indie disco moments.
Mysteries triumphs within its predilection for melody and nuance: "Wheezer" and "Too Sad To Tell You" both predominate in terms of juxtaposition; the former’s brass inclusions add joyous, contemplative warmth - thanks to prolific collaborator Terry Edwards - while the latter exposes the band’s propensity for beautifully adept songcraft and accomplished guitar work. Its seeming 'downfall' is in its unassuming quality that shares a likeness with many other bands of the indie pop persuasion. While there's nothing wildly new here, Tigercats aren't the kind of band to try and woo you with effusive tricks and surprises, and all the better for it.
Subtly recalling some of the softer moments of C86, singer Duncan’s salient vocals are still a distinctive aspect, and they're particularly lovely when interplayed with keyboardist Laura’s. While Isle of Dogs retained a jauntier, elemental and traditionally indie guitar-pop formula that deftly captured youthful petulance, Mysteries is its more confident, cultivated counterpart. In short, they’ve honed their craft and matured without eschewing their admirably innate pop sensibility.
‘Junior Champion’ kicks off proceedings, it’s upbeat guitars chiming, the tone is spot on. It seems to be a song about playing chess but not quite to grandmaster level, losing pieces down the sofa, great kissing and most of all the thrill of being with someone you really want to be with. The song playfully bounces and skips, both Duncan and Laura’s vocals perfectly pitched together. It’ll leave you smitten and it’s immediately Check in favour of Tigercats.
‘Laura and Cesar’ slows the pace to a pleasant stroll. It’s one of two tracks with Laura on lead vocals (the other being ‘Sleeping in the Back Seat’) and is reminiscent of the Pastels most recent album which can only be a positive. ‘King of Vic’ is a bit of a departure from previous Tigercats, sounding like of a less bombastic Arcade Fire. It’s drama is brilliantly done.
First single from this album, ‘Sleeping in the Back Seat’, is a half-asleep tale of touring, waiting, staring out the window, endless roads, missing loved ones, familiar songs on the radio. It rolls along with a beautiful yearning, its hook will bury itself in your brain. It sounds like a hungover ‘Enola Gay’. ‘Wendy and Lisa’ is a slow, wistful story of regrets and apologies. It closes the album in a delicate, sombre mood.
There are no weak tracks on the album. It represents a more polished, confident sounding band. One that have grown up a little (but not too much) from the fun of their debut album. It’s still indie-pop at heart and, like any of the best examples from the genre, it whisks the listener seamlessly through feelings of joy, despair and overall contentment.