Three Trapped Tigers Route One or Die Review

Album. Released 2011.  

BBC Review

A tremendously adventurous, genre-smashing debut from the London trio.

Luke Slater 2011

Those familiar with their three EPs to date have already come to expect big things from Three Trapped Tigers. At times those early releases were too scatterbrained for their own good, but what their debut full-length, Route One or Die, presents is a cohesive and compelling collection from the off, and one with unabated and unwavering focus.

The type of electronica put forward by the trio defies classification, yet it is perhaps unnecessary to look any further than track two, Noise Trade, for an accurate description of what it is this band excels at. The only way the title could possibly be more fitting would be if "Intense" was tagged onto the start. The track also demonstrates the vast ground covered in dead-on five minutes, as it moves from spacey beats via palm-muted full-on metal riffs and out the other side with a finale of heightened euphoria. Follower Creepies reveals a darker side with sinister high-end staccato spikes matched by rumbling bass. It is at roughly this point that you begin to wonder where they can go from here. Answer: onwards and upwards in the most dramatic manner.

It would be difficult to single out one musical element which is the most impressive, but it is hard to look past the stick-work of Adam Betts, something which rarely falls below slack-jawed wonderment in terms of appreciation. But no single constituent would be complete without the context of the others. As chaotic as the opening passages are, less-excessive moments show a stunning flexibility, with Zil's contemplative piano-led stillness acting as the calm at the eye of the storm.

Three Trapped Tigers are a group who have been unrushed in their career so far, gradually increasing intrigue and quality with every release, leaving fans wanting – and getting – more. With Route One or Die they have managed to destroy not only their previous releases, but potentially anything else released in 2011. Not only is it an arousing listen, with great pleasure to be had hearing the subtle and unsubtle sections peak and fade, but it’s even more exciting to wonder about what awaits us in the future from this extraordinary group of musicians.

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