When Three Trapped Tigers dropped a massive bombshell back in January and confirmed that not only was there a new album coming, but that it would be available as soon as April, it would be an understatement to say that it was a bit of a surprise. In many ways, it still is. Five long years separate us from Route One or Die, then heralded by many as “groundbreaking,” and “a true masterpiece,” among other glowing endorsements, and I was remiss in thinking that Silent Earthling would just slip right into those worn shoes and run a marathon across my face.
I’ll admit, my first listen-through was not met with enthusiasm. When you’re anticipating something as sonically and rhythmically dense as Route One or Die and you’re greeted with tracks that open up feeling very dance-club-friendly, the experience is jarring at first. It’s strange to look at it that way, now that I’ve spent the better part of a month really diving in and discovering that, among many things, what the new album certainly has, is mass appeal. It is very much a first listen record. Plenty of deceptively simple-sounding hooks come up quick and are given enough room to breathe and come to life, while still managing to keep me slamming the repeat button (now to the point where I’ve internalized clicking specific waveforms to deliver the highest dopamine rush).
Silent Earthling is almost unapologetically electronic in its arrangements, to the point where even the non-synthesized percussion attempts to mimic D’n’B beats, much like Fall of Math era 65daysofstatic. This, I’ve come to understand, is the strength of the album; if their last effort was meant as proof-of-concept (and it certainly was), then TTT’s newest album is clearly reveling in that victory, while playing fast and loose with what audiences think they know about the band’s sensibilities.
The truly wonderful part about breaking form so fantastically is that they are free to experiment with new sounds and combinations, without having to be overly eager to connect back to their debut. The sonic register of Silent Earthling, like its predecessor, is like nothing you’ve heard before. There are fun new noises to discover and ponder, genuinely unique sensations that are likely to grab you in unexpected ways. Yet somehow through it all, they manage to still sound like the TTT you remember.
So, where are we? Three Trapped Tigers have reached the ‘pop’ phase of their career with an utterly dance-able, hook-laden jam-fest, clearly suited to a robust live set. But if you hesitate at this notion, thinking your hardcore-math sensibilities might be offended and prevent you from enjoying a phenomenal release from one of the most interesting bands in the genre right now, how about you just chill out and move those feet a little?
Electronic, Dance, Party Mix, Odd Rhythms, Heavy Effects