October 6, 2006

Tigercity is a truly awful name for a band. I can’t claim to know where they came up with it, but I can imagine a scenario in which at least one of the members of the band quietly thought that it might not be such a good idea.

Luckily, this sort of dissension apparently gets aired in the songwriting process. “Solitary Man,” the best song from the group’s recent demo, is almost a study in the different influences that each member presumably brings to the table. The singer had to find out, at some point, that he had a falsetto worthy of airing outside of the karaoke bar. The guitarist most likely demanded the extended coda. As did the drummer, who was probably tired of working in concert with synthesized percussion. The guy in charge of keys likely had to hold them in check for a few verses and a chorus or two.

But despite all of this push/pull, “Solitary Man” is a remarkably composed song. If Bill Gillim’s voice sounds a bit like David Byrne, listen closer. Whereas our Francophile psycho killer quavers uncontrollably, Gillim is self-assured. The type of guy that sings in the first-person and doesn’t really mean it. That he ends “Solitary Man,” with the claim that he has “nothing to say” goes some ways towards proving it. That he drops into a falsetto for the words “in a world of cold division” clinches it.

The backing band is equally as regimented, moving from pointillist guitar licks, one-note-after-another synth melodies, and a beat without an ounce of swing. It comes as a relief almost, when the group reaches past the normal chorus and break into the coda—for both band and listener.

[buy stuff here]

Todd Burns | 12:00 am

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