Brooklyn’s entirely instrumental, percussion-based, post-minimalist/neo-psych outfit Tigue introduces a variety of rhythms and sonic textures on their debut album Peaks. The trio, consisting of Matt Evans, Amy Garapic, and Carson Moody, all hail originally from Ohio and have been playing together since 2012. Their sound is made up of a variety of minor percussive instruments, in addition to a traditional drum kit, synthesizers, and vibraphone.
The record starts with “Cranes”, a nearly six-minute song that finds the reverb-heavy clicking of sticks mixing with intermittent snare and bass drums that fall in and out of sync. By the time there’s one-minute left in the song, the track has grown to include the groovy shake of a tambourine and the subtle, eerie hum of a haunted keyboard. “Cranes” rolls into “Sitting”, which continues the pattern of complex rhythmic patterns, but adds a back and forth organ to help keep the pace. The album’s third song, the single “Mouth”, features assistance from Ira Kaplan and James McNew of Yo La Tengo who add touches of bass and distorted guitar to the five-minute instrumental track. “Drones” is an exercise in listener patience, as its three and a half minutes is made up entirely of modified sinewaves overlapping and reverberating the same note until it fades into the next track. Though initially questionable in its presence, “Drones” is revealed to be an intentional palette cleanser, resetting the listener’s ears for what follows.
Swirling ambient hiss and treated, creepy fret board noodling mix with what sounds like dishes being washed in the background during “Drips”, the song that introduces Peaks’ second half. “Dress Well” follows, utilizing a sustained vibraphone and a complicated drum pattern throughout. The drum kit kicks into high gear, culminating in a rousing finish as the song is fleshed-out within the last minute by a bass line and a repeated three note keyboard phrase. Peaks’ penultimate track “Cerulean” starts with a rat-a-tat snare and rim shot combo paired with a foreboding keyboard progression. The tempo drops significantly before “Cerulean” rolls into Peaks’ final song, a two-minute number titled “Ripped”, which brings things full circle by returning to the echo-heavy sticks and snare and bass drum combination reminiscent of the album’s first song.
Part of Peaks’ charm is that in addition to Tigue’s competent use of polyrhythmic patterns, the three members continuously trade off instrument duties, building upon the ever-evolving, contiguous collection track-by-track by incorporating melodicas, gongs, maracas, and tambourines. The trio patiently build small compositions into larger sounding creations to the point where the listener forgets they’re still only hearing three people performing simultaneously. It’s an impressive feat that must make for compelling viewing when witnessed live. While definitely not for everyone, Tigue’s lyric-less first record is a thoughtful collection presented by capable individuals who obviously have a very definite, unique style. Peaks provides a plethora of rewards for the patient listener.