ALBUM: “Tell It to the Volcano” by Miniature Tigers
RELEASE YEAR: 2008
LABEL: Modern Art Records
BEST TRACKS: “Cannibal Queen” “Like or Like Like” “Last Night’s Fake Blood”
An amazing debut for the then-Arizona-based indie-pop band Miniature Tigers, “Tell It to the Volcano,” is a straightforwardly good album. It’s simple and effective, not feigning a different identity, and giving fun melodies, bright guitar and clear vocals a home to thrive. Sometimes it almost verges on the stomp-and-holler genre, so much so that when I read that the band had toured as an opener for fun. in 2012, I wasn’t shocked at all. Their music is very different but at the same time not entirely dissimilar from fun.’s loud and deeply 2012 approach to music.
This 11 track LP clocks in just under 30 minutes, and is thoroughly enjoyable throughout. The melodies become a bit mundane and repetitive, but they’re catchy melodies, so I don’t mind that the album doesn’t excite much in this aspect. Charlie Brand, the lead vocalist, is the driving force behind the music on this album. At any given point, his vocals are the most interesting thing in the song, almost analogous to the effect Jenny Lewis had on Rilo Kiley’s music.
The lyrics on this album get a little silly, as is most evident in their song “Giraffe” whose main hook is “That’s what you get / For sticking out your neck. (Get it? It’s funny because giraffes have long necks). But at most points, the lyrics come across as honestly told stories. For example, the first verse of “Like or Like Like,” the album’s most popular track: “I watched you through your window / I was wearing that dumb sweatshirt / I looked like a goon, I was dressed for winter / Even though it was the middle of June.”
Overall, this album is an excellent collection of songs but doesn’t have a thematic through-line, at least not one that’s obvious to me. It’s an album most enjoyable when put on shuffle, if that tells you anything. It’s fun, easy to like and great for what it is– which is a 2008 indie-pop album.