by Tired Lion (out July 17, 2015)
There's something about the human heart,
It's never satisfied...
With the release of the singles 'I Don't Think You Like Me' and 'Suck' earlier in the year, Tired Lion effortlessly established themselves as the next big thing in Australian rock. 'I Don't Think You Like Me' demanded your attention with riotous guitar riffs and a chorus you already know will have a thousand music fans screaming along during the upcoming Splendour In The Grass set for the Perth-born outfit. 'Suck' picked up where 'IDTYLM' (I don't think the acronym's really a thing, I'm just lazy) left off, leaving one praising the Gods of Rock for delivering unto us our saviors from the glutton of mellow, producer-led tracks dominating the airwaves. Like, I don't have a problem with them... but variety is the spice of life and Tired Lion have quickly become a delicious green curry in a sea of butter chickens. With their second EP, Figurine, the four-piece firmly cements themselves, not as the next big thing in Australian rock, but as THE big thing in Australian rock.
"I've been waiting, just writing letters in the sand, you're such a quiet fool, trying, trying, you're trying," marks Sophie Hopes' first words after howling guitars mark the beginning of 'Pretend', the opening track on Figurine. It's not long before Hopes matches the intensity of Matt Tanner's electrifying guitar lines, roaring her way through a chorus that makes you want to wave those hands in the air like you just don't care. Thundering through to its conclusion, largely powered by Ethan Darnell's drum work, don't be surprised if you find yourself already prepared to hit play again on 'Pretend'. When you're ready to progress, you'll move onto 'Suck' and 'I Don't Think You Like Me'. Be prepared for another couple of endless repeat cycles. You want epic build-ups, choruses that you can scream and shout along to with youthful glee
in an attempt to recapture your fleeting youth and themes of disillusionment with a healthy side of general apathy? Well, that's what I was looking for and that's what I got. I will also take this moment to give a special shout out to Nick Vasey on bass. Because I can, because the work of a bass guitarist is largely thankless and because 'I Don't Think You Like Me' would be less of a sexy, dance-inducing number because of him.
Title track 'Figurine' is deceptive on initial listen. I found myself focusing on the glorious 90s-ness of it all, but that shifted more and more to the lyrics with each subsequent play. "Like a figurine stuck in a plastic dream, they all see you losing sleep over everything," and, "don't hurt yourself, live inside your body, hide away from help, you'd kill just to feel alive," add a layer of depth to a song that I expect will be a massive fan favourite. I'm not going to lie and pretend I know who's responsible for the songwriting duties in Tired Lion, but if it's Hopes, a group effort, whatever... they/she/he are very good at it and I imagine they/she/he will only get better. Dave Parkin's production skills shine the closing EP track, 'December'. The man knows how to bring out the best in rocking and rolling acts and the effects used on Hopes' voice are brilliant and the way he finds the right balance in highlighting the drums and guitars without taking away from the vocals is commendable.
I was going to think up some cheesy sentence to sum up how I feel about Figurine. Something along the lines of it doesn't suck, I don't think I like it... I love it and I don't even have to pretend to. But that would be lame and Tired Lion don't deserve that kind of treatment. Instead, all I'll say is Tired Lion's Figurine is undoubtedly the best rock release of 2015 so far. I'm pretty confident I'll be able to remove 'so far' from that sentence come December.
Matt Bond gives the Figurine EP five Eddie Vedder heads out of five...