Tigers On Trains - Foundry
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: July 17, 2012
It's a rare thing to come across a mature, honest, insightful person, much less for that person to be 23 years old; or two people in this instance. I'm speaking, of course, about Mason Maggio and Christian Van Deurs. This may be the first time for many people to hear about them or their original project, Tigers On Trains, but one listen to their new album, Foundry, tells you that this isn't their first time writing or recording music.
The opening song "In The Atlas Cedars" is one of the faster paced-- but not fast-paced-- songs on the album in sharp contrast to their 2009 debut, Grandfather, which held soft ambience at the forefront of the opening song.
Speaking purely of sound, this album really captures a full spectrum of frequencies on all of the songs without overwhelming your ears with conflicting noise-- a testament to the growing skill of Maggio and Van Deurs, as they are credited with the mixing of the album, and The Republic of Wolves bandmate, Gregg DellaRocca, credited with the mastering. The mixture of dual-vocals(and sometimes 3 or 4 at a time), acoustic guitars(sometimes electric), bass, violins, piano, drums, percussion... My ears are ringing just imagining the chaos, but there is not a single moment in this album that sounds cluttered. The addition of several guest vocals adds a fuller feeling to the album as well and gives a refreshing number of perspectives from different characters.
"I have never made a grown man cry." - This is a phrase that Maggio and Van Deurs can never say for the rest of their lives. Let me defend myself first, though. It takes a lot for something to get to me emotionally, and I'm at a point in my life where unhealthy pride doesn't seem to have a real use for me anymore. In a world where expressing yourself honestly is, by all accounts, shunned, I picked up Tigers On Trains' first album, Grandfather, and stumbled into a journey with 2 boys, both of which I feel a connection to, and now I finally get to hear the next part of their journey through a seemingly honest, forthright, innocent pair of eyes.
I hear songs like "Long Sleeves" which involve a funeral of someone very close to their hearts. It breathes a sense of calm around this life-altering event, and even offers harsh realizations with blatant honesty. One such is in the first verse, saying, "I've kept a steady peace between my days / Though they're stretching out like flames in a restless rage." When asked what this means, Maggio explained that this is "supposed to reflect the idea of struggling to keep the days from bleeding together and conflicting with one another". And don't we all feel that way from time to time? Another lyric refers to a eulogy as a "stilted speech", but it's said in such a passionate way that I wanted to reach out and help him. I wanted to offer some kind of comfort to this poor ruined boy.
So, back to defending myself. Here I am, laying in my bed with my headphones on. It's past midnight, and my wife and son are asleep. And pouring into my ears is this pain-stricken voice that is conveyed beautifully and honestly. I challenge you-- I challenge any man to listen, really listen to what is happening, and not want to cry when you hear the pain of the boys in this story. This is better than anything produced by Hollywood in the last 10 years, and as touching as your favorite TV series when the writers are at their best.
As another reviewer has said, "I honestly couldn't find anything to complain about, so I'll make something up. If you're in the mood for something hard, this isn't it." I agree with him, there aren't any hard songs, but if that's what you're looking for, you're in the wrong genre to begin with.
I look forward to many more spins with Foundry, and I look forward to hearing another quality release from these two remarkable men.
Great review! I completely agree. But you should mention that if someone is looking for something harder and heavier, check out Republic of Wolves!
haha! yeah. i actually had that in the original review before i edited it. i figured it was a little much, because i had already mentioned TROW earlier in the review. i didn't want to veer too far from the main topic. mayhaps i was wrong to take it out. it wouldn't be the first time. :/
Love this album to death. Never thought in a million years they would be able to beat Grandfather... but then came Foundry. God damn.
i know how you feel. though, i don't exactly think that it beat Grandfather. it felt to me like a necessary sequel that was better in some ways, but grandfather had such a foundation for it in the first place. kind of like both of them stand taller together than by themselves. but i do know how you feel.