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miniature-tigers.jpgMiniature Tigers
Tell It to the Volcano
Modern Art Records
8/10

February is the month of hits and misses and tender kisses, so it is appropriate that an album all about romantic love and its frustrations would arrive on the scene. With a quirky title like Tell it To the Volcano, the debut album from the Phoenix based Miniature Tigers isn’t likely to inspire warm tingly feelings among lovebirds looking to get themselves into the Valentine’s Day mood. What the jangly guitars and moody synthesizers on the record are likely to do is inspire a lot of toe-tapping and hand-clapping. And that is exactly what it delivers.

From the opening chords of “Cannibal Queen,” the band makes it clear that while they are pining for lost loves, they aren’t taking themselves too seriously. The poppy guitars and playful lyrics call to mind such free spirited 80s bands such as The Go-Gos, and even the Kinks to some extent, and why not? With lyrics like “This is not a test/this is not an SOS/I’m not on a quest/to get women undressed” it’s hard to think of them as anything other than a quartet of fun-loving guys who happen to be up and coming rock stars. These are definitely not one of those bands who write trenchant lyrics about loveless couples in Brooklyn.

The real treat is singer Charlie Brand’s voice, which sounds like a mix of Chris Martin and a male Belinda Carlisle. The other neat thing about the album is the mix of genres in each of the songs- “Tell it to the Volcano” sounds like it could be a African reggae children’s song, even though the lyrics are anything but childish. “Haunted Blood” sounds like a lost B-side from the Sgt. Pepper album. Despite the disparity in styles, all of the tracks are equally infectious. It’s difficult not to clap or sing along with them.

The record’s complete lack of pretentiousness may be off-putting to people looking for serious faire, but at $7.99, it’s worth the trouble.

John Winn