Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry and Dave Gaume
As it happens with every session that pops up onto this site, the members of the band in the spotlight are asked to provide whatever kind of snapshot synopsis they'd like to for people to appreciate their contributed songs further. There are generally no rules there, nor any instruction given. Most explain roughly what the song was meant to be about and what album it appears on. Sometimes a song about new love already sounds like a song about new love and a song about quizzical, full-blown confusion about the greatest and leanest of life's intricacies could be strike that feeling without a three-sentence disclosure. What we don't need is the person who wrote the song to explain what we were already experiencing.
It was there. We knew it was there. It was working and it felt proper. The descriptions that we got from The Republic Tigers' Adam McGill were poignant and revealing. He lets himself get the magnifying glass and the needle-nosed pliers out to dig into the tissue of the songs and to think as hard about them as he would while working through his tax forms or trying to navigate through an unwinnable argument with a girlfriend. He thinks harder about them because they mean something and like every meaningful song, that doesn't mean that they have to continue meaning the same thing or contain certain bench post meanings. He comes up with New Love and he comes up with Confusion and Burned By Past Relationships. Those are the very dropping off points that are needed to then hand over the rest of the mood and soliloquy crunching to us, the bystanders of consideration. Even McGill has a hard time falling into a sustained definition for the songs that appear on the band's debut full-length, Keep Color.
There is a flux and a wane to it and that has more to do with the towering breadth of the songs that the Kansas City band has written. It's hard to believe that someone sitting somewhere in Kansas City could have written songs that sound more like the monsters of English bands like the Oasis', the Coldplays, the Keanes, the Travis', the Mews and lesser knowns and forgotten such as Kula Shaker and Space. The music that was born here in the heartland, given its life by The Republic Tigers, has elephantiasis in a way is not unsightly or a medical anomaly. The songs are bigger than the scenery and stretch like the Great Wall of China. They stretch like a sigh and a train carrying corn and cars and coal through tiny outposts and by crummy one-stoplight towns all across the country. They cover so much distance that they can't ever be held to their lines and kept within the parameters of what they were when they started. It's almost like foolishly holding onto the memory that someone still would nominate cottage cheese as their favorite food as a 40-year-old just because it was their favorite food when they were 11.
Over time and over great distances, nothing can stay the same and the songs that Republic Tigers hand over are the kinds of songs that make you think that buildings can come to life and begin moving themselves as if they were bears slowly lumbering out of a lonely and extended hibernation. Rooftops pop open and windows shatter out as they become mobile and finally decide where THEY'D like to live instead of the other way around. These songs do a similar thing as they catapult into the anthemic club in short order, reminding you that you and even the people playing the songs are feeble and can be discarded at any time. They take over and become rolling hills that actually start to roll, swallowing a dairy farm like an ocean swallowing a surfboard. The ground begins to appear as maybe it's always been - as a piece of ground that's been perforated into a jigsaw puzzle. There are fault lines here and there and they begin to rumble, like a far-off storm just entering the view, ready to light some people up for a while and then show off. The fault lines and the storms have proved to be good role models for these Tigers.
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