Tigercats: Mysteries (Fortuna Pop)

East London indie pop quintet unleash impressive second LP

Released Feb 9th, 2015 via Fortuna Pop! / By Henry Bainbridge
Tigercats: Mysteries (Fortuna Pop) It’s been a good few years for record label Fortuna Pop and, with their first release of 2015 being East London indie pop beasts Tigercats’ splendid new LP, this one threatens to be as good from the get go.

Tigercats are a five-piece but at the heart of Mysteries is lead singer and songwriter Duncan Barrett’s navigation of the later part of his twenties. Ostensibly you could split this record’s themes into love songs and London songs but behind this a theme of settlement and contentment has balanced the angst of previous records. It doesn’t take a mammoth degree of intuition to note that Hefner, Orange Juice and The Go-Betweens inform the songwriting here.

It's indie pop but there is a degree of invention that sets it aside from a swathe of groups amongst this often-unadventurous genre. The contribution of the rhythm section to an indie pop record is rarely worth a raised eyebrow but in this case it can not be emphasized enough how much impact bass player Giles Barratt (Duncan’s brother) and drummer Jonny Evans have in bringing something refreshing to the table. The bass moves all over the place, picking out chord tones and colour notes with and between Evans' inventive beats. It’s a rock-solid foundation for Paul Rains (also of Allo Darlin) and Laura Kovic to add some harmonic punch from electric guitar, synth and Laura’s backing vocals, who also takes lead on a couple of tunes

Anyway, plenty of people can play fancy-pants music. What steps this record up is Duncan’s unfussy and honest confessional approach to the love song. Love songs to lovers, family, friends? Most of these songs are not obviously about one person. When previous album Isle of Dogs came out on Fika in 2012 The Sunday Times described Tigercats as a band that made you want to be a teenager again. Three years later and lyrics like “I still get a thrill from being with you” have a resonance and meaning that would sound hollow in teenage tones.

Overall this is a more developed record than Isle of Dogs; there are beautifully orchestrated pop songs, each part arranged with tremendous care. This is no stroke of luck; Giles is an engineer at London’s Soup Studios. His access allowed virtually limitless studio time for the band to explore each song’s potential, resulting in collisions of flutes, saxophones, steel pans, synth leads and trumpets amongst warm vocals and a TIGHT rhythm section.

Have Tigercats recorded a perfect record? Not yet; the first three tracks feel awkward together (they could be three different bands) and the gap between average songs ('Globe Town') and excellent songs ('Wheezer') is clear. However, when it’s good it’s as good as indie pop gets, just listen to 'Junior Champion', 'Sleeping in The Back Seat' or 'I’m Too Sad To Tell You'. What is exciting is that it feels like the best is still ahead and that will be quite something.

Tigercats tour:


Wed 25th, London, 100 Club (supporting The Wave Pictures)


Fri 27th - Brighton - The Joker
Sun 29th - Cambridge - Portland Arms


Sat 4th - Cardiff - Wales Go Pop! Festival
Sun 5th - Bristol - Roll for the Soul
Mon 6th - Nottingham - The Maze
Tue 7th - Leeds - Wharf Chambers
Wed 8th - Edinburgh - Henry's Cellar Bar
Thurs 9th - Newcastle - Lit & Phil Library
Fri 10th - Manchester - The Castle
Sat 11th - York - Fulford Arms