Miniature Tigers is an indie pop outfit based out of Brooklyn. The band was first formed as a collaboration between frontman Charlie Brand and drummer Rick Schaier who met through Myspace while both were living in LA. At the time Brand was suffering from a recent heartbreak, but channeled his efforts into crafting catchy pop hooks. Miniature Tigers were named one of the 25 best bands on Myspace in 2006 by Rolling Stone. They released their debut album Tell It To The Volcano in 2008 on the label Modern Art. Since then the band has toured with the likes of Ben Folds, Japandroids and Neon Indian. Their latest album, Mia Pharaoh, dropped in March 2012.
Brooklyn transplants Miniature Tigers clearly love pop music from across the decades. On their most recent release MIA PHARAOH, the band dives into everything from current Top 40 style dance pop, unadulterated indie pop and falsetto heavy R&B, to tasty 80s dance cheese. Needless to say, this is music that goes down easy. Much like sugary melody makers Passion Pit, the band has an endearing side that could be annoying and/or kitschy, but instead, pulls off charming. Originally formed in Phoenix, the four-piece first made waves with 2008s Tell It To The Volcano, a record grounded in whimsical power pop, while 2010s Fortress continued in the same vein of bright and hooky songwriting. 2012s MIA PHARAOH draws from a broader palette of influences, and its high points are deliriously enjoyable.
“Sex on the Regular” kicks off with 80s synth chords that could practically be samples from Madonna's heyday, while lead vocalist Charlie Brand launches into some slinky falsetto vocals. There are some fairly over the top lyrics like “Feels like I'm losing myself to you/Every time we touch,” but this isn't exactly a serious statement; it's gooey ear candy meant for feverishly silly dancing. Miniature Tigers continue the cheeky, sexual-charged vibes with “Female Doctor,” heading towards slow jam territory, but maintain the sensual falsetto and provocative lyrics. Cheesy keyboard gives it a playful, lighthearted air, and as always, Miniature Tigers' unstoppable melodies win the day.
Elsewhere on the album, the band revisits the breezy guitar-based songs of their earlier work to excellent effect. “Boomerang” is very much in the vein of indie psych-pop heroes like of Montreal and the Shins with its rich harmonies and bubbling melodies. “Hologram Girl” is a straight up acoustic ditty, stately and beautiful.
Switching gears mid career is a ballsy move, but Miniature Tigers have the charm and chops to pull it off.