Music Reviews
I Won't Care How You Remember Me

Tigers Jaw I Won't Care How You Remember Me

(Hopeless Records) Rating - 6/10

There’s something admirably dependable about Tigers Jaw's sixth full-length LP. While the world moves in odd directions, the Scranton, Pennsylvania quartet continues chugging along. No matter what our day-to-day life looks like, bandleaders Ben Walsch and Brianna Collins will round up a group of people to play with them, and soon after, they’ll have an album of broadly appealing, Will Yep-produced songs. With 15 years of playing together, five weeks of studio time, and a year in quarantine, the band sounds solid. Everything is holding steady, but the whole thing feels a little underwhelming.

For all intents and purposes, this album will sound better live, as the energy of a mosh pit or someone stage-diving above you is going to elevate these songs into the Tigers Jaw pantheon. Still, bits and pieces of I Won’t Care How You Remember Me sound like an imitation of previous greatness. During its back half, songs push forward aimlessly, rarely giving away to a memorable guitar solo or a catchy chorus. Body Language is somewhat of an ideal example, with capable drum work and a snarling guitar lead, but the potential never materializes into a great song. On the plodding Never Wanted To, the texture of the production limits what could be a meaningful tune, as the guitars crunch without flavor and there’s no weight behind the percussion.

On the other hand, songs like Hesitation or New Detroit illustrate the band's appealing instrumental arrangements and female/male vocal combo. Seconds into the former, you’re hit with a light touch of piano, distorted guitars, and anchoring drums to make one of the strongest instrumental passages of the band’s career. At his best, Walsch’s lyricism threads the line between clichés and anecdotal details with ease. There are exceptions to this, as Hesitation captures the curdling of a long-distance relationship superbly. It might be his best set of lyrics. It’s a disappointment that it’s situated between a handful of bored, washed-out emo tunes that hold I Won’t Care How You Remember Me down.