POP RESCUE: ‘Is My Head Still On?’ by Tiger Lou (CD, 2004)


Today’s POP RESCUE is the 2004 debut album Is My Head Still On? by Swedish solo project (and 4-piece live band), Tiger Lou, but would you be wishing your ears weren’t? Read on..

Tiger Lou - Is My Head Still On? (2004) albumThis 10 track album opens with the low buzz of The Sound Of Crickets, swiftly followed by the gentle guitar sequence as a choir comes in. This mesmerising almost lullaby introduction is pierced by Rasmus Kellerman‘s vocals, sounding here not unlike Coldplay’s Chris Martin (minus the irritating bit). This is a brooding, dark beginning, with some wonderful layers of vocals and simple instrumentation.

This is followed by Sell Out, which by contrast has a much faster tempo, with faster strummed guitars and beats. This is a much more indie guitar song, and Rasmus’ vocals here are bright and uplifting. This song sounds far more chart-friendly almost catchy, and was the album’s second single.

Lead single Oh Horatio follows this. This continues the more up-beat guitar led sound, but this track is a little more mellow than Sell Out. The song bounces along perfectly, with a wonderful bass and melodic vocals, even some brass. This song is perhaps a little weaker than Sell Out too, but it is still a nice warm sound.

Up next is Warmth, which a great menacing piano and bass-heavy sound. Rasmus’ vocals feel fragile here and he almost sounds like Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. A wave of electric guitar screams as those sinister piano and basslines plod through. This is a wonderful track!

A busy snare drum shuffles perfectly through next song The War Between Us as a simple bass and guitar sequence leads us through the song. Gentle ‘aah’ backing vocals compliment Rasmus’ confident vocals and add a softer sound to this otherwise bassy sound. This song was the third and final single from the album.

Like You Said follows this, seeing the piano and acoustic guitar lead the song. Rasmus’ vocals are soft and delicate again. This is a really nice mellow song.

This is followed by Last Night They Had To Carry Me Home which bursts open with bass drum and rumbling snares and guitars. The song leaps into the first verse with ease, and the song itself flows perfectly whilst the drums keep rolling.

Next song The Wake/Hooray Hooray is heavier, and sees the return of the slightly sinister bass and twangy guitars. The vocals are low, in keeping with the sound, as are the gloomy lyrics – ‘close my eyes drain for blood, leaches brought the cleansing flood‘. Despite that, the chorus is filled with ‘hooray‘ which gives a great contrast (and this makes the chorus sound almost a little like a-Ha).

Penultimate track All In Good Time, instantly reminds me of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. The song’s low bass-heavy, simple bass drum and snare sound, gives Rasmus plenty of time and space to show off his vocal abilities, especially when it breaks for the chorus which sees the song deliver a wall of sound and vocals that then doesn’t sound so far from Radiohead. The contrast really works well, and the song reaches a peak just before the end, where it leaves it to a simple guitar to fade the song out.

After a few minutes silence, final song Lowdown follows, and this song feels completely different – far bouncier and playful – musically and vocally. This is a real toe-tapper, and it becomes clear as to why there was a pause between this song and the previous one. Whilst it’s not hidden, this little 2m 4s song just feels so different.

Over all, I’m really glad that I picked this album up. I like it when I’ve no idea who the artist is, or even what genre it is, and then end up discovering something new, and a brand new artist to get into. This is not pop music, but closer to indie. Quite how Tiger Lou avoided charting in the UK in 2004, I’ll never know. A brilliant debut, and a great Pop Rescue. Hello Tiger Lou, I’m glad to have met you.

Where are Tiger Lou now?

Whilst Tiger Lou have eluded the UK chart, they have struck upon success in other countries – touring in native Sweden, Germany and the US.

They received award nominations in 2004 for ‘Best Newcomer’ and a Swedish Grammi nomination for the video for lead single Oh Horatio.

The group’s most recent release is EP California Hauling in 2015, as a ‘pit stop’ to their next album.

POP RESCUE RATING:

  • POP RESCUE 2015 RATING: 4 / 5
  • 2004 UK CHART PEAK: Did not chart in the UK.
  • POP RESCUE COST: £1.99 from a British Heart Foundation store.

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