When I first stumbled across Phoenix indie pop band Miniature Tigers‘ cutesy, endearing debut album in 2009, fell in love with it, and gave it a great score [read our review], I had no idea that I’d be writing a review for the band’s third album a full three years later — also for The Tune. Granted, I wasn’t running this site when I panned the band’s second album, 2010′s Fortress, in an article for the now-defunct ReviewRinseRepeat [read the review], but I can still claim to have been writing about Miniature Tigers for their entire career.
And that knowledge led me to “safely predict a much better album than the band’s horrible sophomore effort” after hearing the first song to drop from Mia Pharaoh, the catchy and assertive pop-rock of “Boomerang.” Subsequent singles such as the sexy slider “Female Doctor” (“keep me wrapped around your finger ’til it’s time to operate”) and the shifty-eyed, explicit album highlight “Sex on the Regular” (“I’ve got a fever of 110; I’m cumming over and over and over again”) also returned to the spastic, playful pop of Tell It to the Volcano. But those were the singles — much of the rest of Mia Pharaoh wanders through indulgent synths (“Flower Door,” “Cleopatra”) and floats aimlessly (“Husbands and Wives,” “Ugly Needs”), just as that strawberry in the cover art would if those hands abandoned it.
Miniature Tigers have repeatedly shown that they have the talent to produce quality music, but since their debut LP both full-lengths have overflowed with near misses. ”Easy as All That” is the perfect example of this phenomenon: that oiled-up melody is an earworm, the staccato synths and pumping-piston percussion are ingenious… but for some reason, Miniature Tigers use half of the 3.5-minute song to repeat, “Baby, you make me crazy for you/ Baby, I’m so crazy without you” — four times. It’s the blandest line I can possibly imagine, and it completely destroys the track, which is nestled right in the middle of the album for maximum interruption. Missteps like these are the reason that, three albums and three reviews later, I’m still waiting for Miniature Tigers find their mojo.
Stream: Miniature Tigers – “Sex on the Regular”
Stream: Miniature Tigers – “Boomerang”