Review by Bailey Garno
A past Feature Friday band is now up for an album review: Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes’ sophomore album, Kid Tiger, is set to be released March 4th, and you will want to lend an ear.
I woke up one Friday morning, clicked “play” on the new tracks, and it turned out to be the best way to start my day.
This album is like a shot of espresso to the face. The Great Lakes have a dense, driving sound, similar to that of Two Door Cinema Club and Foster the People. There is uniformity across the album, with continued use of heavy percussion and fast tempos. The tracks often slip into dreamy bridges, but without fail break back into pounding piano keys.
Frontman Daniel Ellsworth is on keyboard and vocals, with an impressive tenor voice that often goes falsetto. He is a talent for sure—check out “Ready Set” for some particularly commanding vocals.
Additional highlights should include “Static,” which has lyrics to get you psyched and a melody I predict will make it a summer anthem. “Phantom,” too, has a head-knocker of a chorus and is the perfect song of vengeance.
I challenge that the album’s biggest critique is that it is so hyper-energetic, but with not enough variety in pace. Indeed, by the time listeners get to “Echoes,” they may be feeling a bit out of breath. The band manages to show they are capable within individual songs, but the technique is repeatedly used.
We are allowed the opportunity to breathe, though, with “Little Light,” ironically the lightest song on the album. “Little Light” does not feel at all out of place. The piano is charming, reminiscent of ragtime, and Ellsworth’s vocals are unique enough to the band’s sound but familiar enough throughout the album to make this song cohesive between “Echoes” and “Frontline.”
It is also peculiar that “Waves” should be the first track. At nearly six minutes, the song sounds like a last effort to pitch everything they have. I happen to love “Waves,” but when the piano and electric guitar quit their duet, an endless silence would be more profound.
Overall, Kid Tiger offers a sound to be appreciated among the college demographic: cool and hip. It combines the raw instrumental talent of The Great Lakes with synthetic, electronic undertones, reflective of the modern indie genre. And yes, I would highly recommend the morning cup of coffee with this one.
Overall rating: 3.5/5
Recommended tracks: “Waves,” “Static,” “Fits & Starts”