Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Bulletproof Tiger – April 14 at Bar St Laurent 2

Within 20 seconds of stepping inside that other establishment at the corner of St Laurent and St Viateur Wednesday night, I immediately felt equal parts untalented and unworthy – before the second-wave reaction to The Bulletproof Tiger set in, reminding me that not everyone can (or should) play the way these Windsor math-rock wonderchilds do. Because that would get boring, and because the world's ears would bleed.

From the depths of southern Ontario, this four-piece skirts vocals for calculated yet tuneful waves of tapping-heavy phrases that stay true to slightly dirty, pretty reverby, kinda middy tone that the genre has come to monopolize: enough for the notes to have some teeth, clear enough to make sure all the dexterous string mangling actually gets heard. And having long ditched the picking hand/fretboard hand binary, the band's decidedly egalitarian approach is not only expressed on their guitar necks, but through their frontman-free take to stage presence.

Bulletproof Tiger spends a ton of time running through melodies and bouncing around subtle time experiments – so when they resort to actually strumming their guitars, the unified force is enough to put you to rest, Memorial-like. You might not get that idea on their Stab the New Cherry EP, which keeps to the cleaner side of their sound, even adding some electro moments. To keep things interesting next time around, the band could take a cue from contemporaries Maps and Atlases, who have successfully embraced other sides of the mathy coin. Otherwise, they might be the ones getting bored with what the sometimes restrictive genre can do for them.