Miniature Tigers - Mia Pharaoh
Record Label: Modern Art Records
Release Date: March 6, 2012
Mia Pharaoh caught me by surprise. In 2009, I saw Miniature Tigers open up for my favorite band, Manchester Orchestra. Although I couldn’t recall a single song from the set, I just remember their performance being a hell of a lot of fun, full of acoustic guitars and drums strewn across the stage, and a song about volcanoes.
So I was taken aback when I popped the band’s third album in, and was greeted with the quick hitting synths, electronic drumbeats, and falsetto vocals of the opening track “Sex On The Regular”. The shock was quickly replaced by sheer enjoyment of what was coming through my speakers. Through 10 tracks, Miniature Tigers, led by singer/guitarist Charlie Brand, craft an album full of catchy hooks, quick hitting guitar riffs, and simply great pop songs.
Following the opening “Sex On The Regular” is the first single from the album, “Female Doctor”. These tracks almost work as a pair, both discussing the dream-like aspects of a great relationship. In the former, with lines like “Feels like I’m losing myself to you/Every time we touch”, and in the latter Brand sings “So what’s your fantasy?/Can I make you come true?”.
The third track, “Cleopatra”, keeps the same electronic sensibilities of those before it, but tackling the post-relationship blues. “Don’t tell me to fuck off/I’m in love with you still” makes it clear that the direction is already changing. “Afternoons With David Hockney” provides the first real guitar driven song, starting with a slow acoustic guitar riff, allowing the focus to be placed on the vocals.
The rest of the album is filled with some great driving bass lines (“Flower Door” and “Boomerang”) as well as more of the dreamy pop that the band has mentioned being influenced by, with songs like “Ugly Needs”, full of horns, strings, and a building, airy atmosphere to it.
The album ends on a soft note, with “Husbands and Wives”. The song addresses the worries about growing old and dying, making for a perfect bookend to such an upbeat album. Brand finishes things off with a beautiful line, as piano, strings, and cymbals build and crash behind his airy vocals: “Sometimes a man needs a woman/Sometimes a man needs a little girl”.