By Ethan Bloomfield, Staff Writer
Key tracks: “I Won’t Care How You Remember Me”, “Lemon Mouth”, “Anniversary”
In the past year, Indie rock and DIY music in general have taken a major hit, as much of the grassroots music industry appears to be in dire straits. Nevertheless, as this year-long catastrophe rages on, independent music has found a way to shine through. Whether that be Sinai Vessel’s excellent Ground Aswim last Halloween or The Mountain Goats’ lo-fi quarantine tape, Songs for Pierre Chuvin––the stripped-back, quarantine-inspired album is a growing musical trend––musicians have found a way to get their message to people regardless of restrictions and problems associated with COVID.
Read more: Album Review: Sinai Vessel – Ground Aswim
Scranton’s indie rock outfit Tigers Jaw are no exception to this. I Won’t Care How You Remember Me is their sixth studio project, and it’s a comfortable fit into their discography. Tight lyricism and catchy hooks, along with welcoming, easy-to-digest riffs and fuzzy production make this album a cozy, friendly listen.
The record starts with the title track, “I Won’t Care How You Remember Me”, a somewhat bitter acoustic ballad that laments the loss of someone held dear––a surprisingly temperate first track for an album that picks up so much speed. The back half of the track does get steadily louder, though, and the album opens up to a more reasonable degree of punk-flavored edge.
Songs like “Cat’s Cradle”, featuring vocalist Brianna Collins, feel smooth and fluffy on the ears as her voice blends well into the already-congealed instrumentation. Throughout the record, she and Ben Walsh trade songs down the list, as if singing in response to one another. Next to Collins’ well-blended and inoffensive vocals, Walsh’s more forward style of singing makes for a texturally-varied album that delivers more on variations in vocal styling than more recent Tigers Jaw releases, like 2017’s Spin.
The lyricism is a high point of the record. While the instrumentation can feel a little same-y, prominent stylistic changes––like the Beach Bunny or Varsity cosplay on the verses of “Commit” or the aforementioned acoustic guitar on the title track––are still compelling as far as songwriting is concerned. Songs like “Lemon Mouth” really show off the band’s ability to put a tight song together, blending themes of self-deprecation and melancholy post-breakup feelings with a fantastic and catchy chorus. Melodic hooks like ”Start looking for answers in a psychic mirror” will be stuck in your head.
Finally, any good album needs to stick the landing. A satisfying conclusion needs to be present, lest the record go the way of Making a Door Less Open and simply come to a grinding halt. “Anniversary” does a competent job at ending the record in a satisfying way, emotionally tying the project’s loose ends and resolving on a high note. As Walsh refrains the words “We all fall apart in the same way,” the heart of the record is revealed while the song winds down to an acoustic guitar that plays itself out.
All in all, Tigers Jaw made an album that maintains their place as one of the most notable indie bands of recent years. I Won’t Care How You Remember Me is clean, satisfying, and though it’s not overtly challenging or groundbreaking, that is a positive trait in this case. Even the most hardcore music fans don’t always want to endure another hour of blackgaze or some avant-garde statement piece. This record is sweetly comfortable, and fits right at home within Tigers Jaw’s discography and their genre.