Listening to their latest release – the album Silent Earthling – it’s hard to know if Three Trapped Tigers are a band or the work of a lone auteur. They’re definitely a band, a three-piece from London, but the stunning bedroom production work of multi-instrumentalist and main composer Matt Calvert is the dominant force at play here. It sounds fantastic; bright, crisp and sparkling like a euphoric walk through fresh dry snow making a trail where no one has ever walked before.
Three Trapped Tigers sound like the future, bringing to mind that feeling of exploration associated with Aphex Twin, Kraftwerk or Air. The album is good enough for me to put it on again immediately when it finishes. Being critical, you might say that it is a little too clean (although it is never sterile), and that a lack of hooks does compromise the work. But this is a strong album it is hard to find fault with and these are just nitpicks.
Silent Earthling begins calmly. An exceptionally nice sounding snare drum breaks the calm and the high production quality is immediately apparent. For a moment it threatens to glitch into EDM but then it settles down to a solid series of Billy Cobham jazz fusion stabs accompanying a melody. The synthesizer lead soars blissfully and I know that this is called prog rock. Then computerised bass devours the whole and the work defies easy categorization.
Three Trapped Tigers describe themselves as noise-rock. Their older material such as the five year old album Route One or Die sounds more like a band, rougher and more authentic, in contrast to the clean production values of Silent Earthling. All of their songs are inventive and playful and the band clearly has a sense of humour. With musicians of this quality it is hard to go far wrong. Alongside Calvert are Drummer Adam Betts, who is cunning and expressive beneath his virtuoso ability. Tom Rogerson completes the line up, also on keyboards. The whole is a complex ritual performed by master sorcerers incapable of misjudgement or error.
Warm and blissful, floaty and heady, it is easy to drift into another world under Three Trapped Tiger’s expert pilotage. And what is here out beyond the void? A warm loving euphoric embrace. Silent Earthling, the album, is out in April and the band are on tour across Europe. You need this in your life. Three Trapped Tigers will win you over in the purest possible way; their fine exploratory music is simply good.