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Three Trapped Tigers
Route One Or Die Luke Turner , May 31st, 2011 08:09

With Battles about to unleash the remarkable Gloss Drop, any group attempting to their standard on a similar brand of awkward, Inspector Gadget-drummed rock, is going to have to have balls of titanium, and a mad tally-ho! ready at the back of their throat. Yet throughout much of Route One Or Die, Three Trapped Tigers are, compared to Battles, a mere Mild Skirmish, with nary enough smiting, sorrow, or roughly-severed limbs.

This is unfortunate, and perhaps surprising. As their initial series of EPs proved, TTT are a group determined to move beyond the confines of mathematical electronic rock. Lynchpin Tom Rogerson, a pianist with a background in a jazz, has ideas aplenty, and vision too: you can hear that here in the excellent 'Ulnastricter', which not only references Aphex Twin in awkward nomenclature (sounds like a serpentine character from a steam punk graphic novel), but attaches some of his electronic hiccups to some cosmic shredding. 'Creepies' too is unpleasant and tribal, and comes for a determined undead pillage of your village. 'Noise Trade' is a notable attempt at something heavier, but you can't help but wish the group had done a racket swap with more brutal members of the UK underground like Hey Colossus or Gum Takes Tooth.

For despite the complexity, there's the sense that this is bluster, pretty shapes drawn, for a while, on the sky. The textured ambience of 'Zil', piano only light above background clanks and hammerblows, points towards something terrible in a forgotten mineshaft, but instead we get next track 'Drebin', which, to be frank, scratches its head and stomps around the room for nearly five inconclusive minutes. 'Drebin' is, simply, not enough of a drubbin', and while we can doubtless applaud Three Trapped Tigers for their cleverness in putting the whole thing together... well, you wouldn't want to go for a pint with the bloke designing the wiring for The Shard skyscraper now would you? Closer 'Reset' rescues things somewhat, with tense drones and synths tumbling all over the shop in a soundtrack to some glorious spacecraft lifting off to take us poor humans away from this sullied and finite globe... but gets bored somewhere around the International Space Station, and pops in for tea.

All of this is deeply frustrating. Three Trapped Tigers are a band clearly possessed of more technical ability than nearly all your common or garden indie sparrers. The trouble is, they are indeed trapped, and by their very methodology While other frenetically complicated UK noise groups - That Fucking Tank, say - go about their marauding with a sense of daft bravura, Three Trapped Tigers are too polite and considered. Music such as this needs to break down the equation and liven things up with some madness, passion, wild rage, a bloke in a cloak screaming about aliens: lacking that, Route One Or Die never even manages to leave the drawing board.

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