Album Review: Kiki and the Tiger – Wake Me Up / Have You Ever Fell Apart [October 2019]

KikiTiger Cover
7.5

The rare decision to release a double single, as opposed to a single or an EP, is perhaps our first hint that Kiki and the Tiger do things a little differently.

Heavily influenced by satirical poetic greats, such as Ian Dury, the group formed in Hackney, with the youngest member on trumpet being only 19, and oldest on keys being 24. They were bred through the rise and sounds of the nu-jazz movement that has electrified the youth improvisation groups and has burst through with great popularity into the global world, forging a brand-new space and sound that represents London jazz. This is the band’s first recorded offering, whilst already being an exciting live performing band.

Wake Me Up

The opening track intrigues, immediately building a funky jazz pace, only to drop down into a slower more soulful groove, upon which we are introduced to the chorus lyric, “Wake me up if I go to sleep again, because I’m bound to get tired my love”. I feel obsessed with the simplicity of this lyric, and yet it feels so relevant, honest and profound. The first time I heard it, I found it endearing, and I wanted to hear more to figure out the message.

The ever-changing pace in the song keeps me interested, whilst allowing space to appreciate individual musicality, such as showcasing a notably smooth guitar solo.

Perhaps the ever-changing interest and pathways presented in the song, through change of keys, speed, tones and ideas, is reflective of the band’s generational behaviours that are characteristic of quick availability of information and attention acceleration.

Whereas ‘Wake Me Up’ opens ready to have you on the dance floor, it feels more like headphones on at bedtime when ‘Have You Ever Fell Apart’ begins….

Have You Ever Fell Apart

The slow anticipated bass line introduces the deep path we’re to follow throughout the journey of ‘Have You Ever Fell Apart’, which annotates the progression of a mental breakdown; a serious topic, delicately and maturely explored in an artistically poetic and incredibly expressive way. Furthermore, deciding to illustrate a story so relevant, yet still somewhat taboo, is a further step towards a higher level.  

Throughout the two singles, what strikes me most is a level of artistic maturity, far beyond the years of the band members, that’s consistent through the deeply poetic lyrics, the soulful jazz trills from the trumpet, the atmospheric keys, and the graceful way the bass and drums play an intricate dance with one another. When focusing on the words themselves, one could feel as though listening to the wise words of a weathered elder. It takes a pinch back into reality to remember the fresh faces of the young lads.




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