All fired up

By JEFF BREEZE  |  May 1, 2007

Clark sees the recordings as a sketch. “We’re not reading a script, we’re reworking these songs as a bunch of individuals would. Then we’re working in new stuff constantly, so it doesn’t feel like we’re just a bunch of pick-up musicians.”

“There are aspects of it that are very set and you can find your role and work within that,” Foster adds, “but we’ve also tailored what we do around everyone’s personal style. It’s been good in both regards, working out the songs and expanding beyond what was there before.”

Indeed. Tiger Saw’s earliest recordings were languid indie folk. Sing! was constructed to get audiences to sing along. Tigers on Fire has a very different aim. Metrano: “This record was about incorporating horns and doing some more rhythmic sort of music. We wanted to do a record that was our basement soul record.”

Tiger Saw began recording last March with the remnants of the Sing! line-up. Different musicians would come in and add parts to songs, and smaller ensembles would join Metrano in the studio to create the basic tracks for new songs. “The band turned over several times, so the record has a lot of different small line-ups on it. Even though the record has 21 people on it, it’s not like a huge orchestra at any point. The horns kind of tie it all together because they’re on each of those line-ups, and that’s the thing that makes it have a cohesive sound.”

Last year, a Tiger Saw performance was usually Metrano and another solo artist (Casey Dienel and Annie Palmer were his most frequent tour mates) playing the songs quietly and encouraging crowds to sing. Bringing a new band around and leaning more toward soul has caused some confusion. But Metrano sees it all as a logical progression. “Across the board, people have been pretty surprised. They’re expecting one thing and getting something completely different. We’ve been trying to get people to dance at all of these shows, and that happens more often than not. Tiger Saw shows are just about having some sort of communal experience, and whereas we might not do as much with sing-alongs, we’re still really trying to involve people by getting people to move. To me it’s the next level of what we’ve always been. It has the feel of a party and that’s exciting. I feel like everybody’s involved and everyone’s a part of it.”

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