Jackpot, Tiger began as a folk project between founding members Claire McGinley and Eryck Tait. After the addition of Kevin McGinely (drums), Claire’s younger brother, and Alex Kahn (bass), the Brooklyn-based indie rock band soaked up the intense energy of the punk music surrounding them at the time, but they never lost the pop glaze that initially brought them together.
Following the release of The Sweet & Savory EP (2010), Jackpot, Tiger dropped their debut full-length Chemistry Night (2012), that led to a dedicated New York City following. They’ve been tearing up their home turf playing show after show of dance-party-sing-along’s ever since.
Surfing around the web, I keep reading debates about what kind of Pop band Jackpot, Tiger is. Are they straight up Pop? Is it Indie Pop, or modern-day bubblegum music? Truth is Jackpot, Tiger is simply a rock n’ roll band that sounds like no other.
The sound from their self-titled sophomore album is a stream of lush, jangly folk- pop, edged with a touch of baroque indie rock. How else could you explain tracks like the playful, up-tempo, and tongue-in-cheek “Hey, Remora” and the ethereal, morbid and almost languorous, “Alone With You”, sitting side by side on the same album?
While their previous works, the album “Chemistry Night” and the Ep, “Sweet & Savory” was an excellent introduction, it’s nothing compared to the sharp-edged grandeur of this album, with its glorious instrumentation, vivid lyricism and varied vocals.
Eccentric and familiar at the same time, the music is nothing short of spellbinding. The album packs a futuristic punch that is delivered with the subtle gist of a nostalgic kiss on the cheek. The songs have a mystically optimistic spirit; graceful and invigorating, all finely spun into a genius work of pop art unlike anything else currently available.
Jackpot, Tiger lies in that wonderful but exceedingly rare territory, where songs are richly textured and complex but highly accessible because of their immediacy in being contemplated by listeners. Hence the over simplistic label – POP!
This combination of complexity plus accessibility makes it an album that can be listened to over and over. Jackpot, Tiger really has many layers like the peels of an onion, the music, the lyrics, the accompanying vocals that you will find yourself discovering things on subsequent listens. On only my second listen, I discovered cool riffs, infectious melodies, killer hooks, and even some power chords!
Oh, and that was well after I discovered the 60s-styled harmonies, 70s-styled melodies and 90s-styled cacophony. Don’t worry though; there are plenty of softer moments too, like “Float Away”, “Alone With You” and “Cool Country”. Standouts for me are, “Alone With You”, “Please Protect Me”, “Pistol Girl”, “Not Crazy” and “Float Away”, but the other songs are excellent as well.
The album Jackpot, Tiger certainly has a trademark sound. It contains the most unconventionally conventional pop songs you’ll likely to hear, this year!
In closing, what I do hear in Jackpot, Tiger is a reflection of a more distant tradition. There are compositional references, vocal styles, and arrangement nodding to 60s baroque pop plus the scope, lushness and depth of pop complexities essential to the 70s. Yet there’s also the spaciousness and intimacy of this year’s indie rock. This music is absolutely listenable, deeply enjoyable and somehow makes you feel like you’re experiencing something quite special.
You’ll love it!