|MH-280 Brothertiger - Golden Years
Golden Years, the first album by Ohio’s Brothertiger, is a chilled-out exploration of creator John Jagos’ lush, lo-fi dance world. “I’ve Been Waiting” is what Ariel Pink might’ve sounded like if he’d been fixated on disco and new wave instead of classic rock, while the full-tilt groove of “Out of Line” brings the club to the bedroom on the back of a hook that could easily be from Zapp and Roger. Most of Golden Years is subdued, though, with Brothertiger building upon cassette beats to create ornate-yet-subtle chillwave landscapes on tracks like “Too Convinced to Care” and the encircling, ethereal “Wind at My Back.” Shades of emotion drift across the album, finding articulation in the vocal “ahhs” and “oohs” with which Jagos pads his compositions. These all come together on the album’s title track and centerpiece, with upward moving wall-of-synth production that leads to the following lyrical aspiration: “I’ve been waiting so long to be somewhere.” Golden Years proves that Jagos need not wait any longer.
|Much of Golden Years should be filed under the electro-pop heading, especially the title track which is one of the stand out's (think M83 having a wrestle with MGMT). - Altsounds / This is a beautiful and catchy record that proves one man can do it all and do it well. - Pop Stereo / A dance record, of sorts. It’s electronic lo-fi hipswaysynth. - Berkeley Place|
|If there ever was an album that had the ability to produce smiles and sheer joy, then Golden Years is just that. The debut full-length of recent Ohio University grad John Jagos, aka Brothertiger, Golden Years is a solid release filled with warm, melodic chillwave that pulls you in and leaves you exceptionally relaxed.|
Golden Years is a step above anything Jagos has previously released. The most apparent improvement is the production value. Songs with outstanding drum loops like “I’ve Been Waiting” are more intricate in their dynamics and sampling than some of the more basic lines in past work. The synth production is just as upbeat and bubbly on up-tempo songs, as well as gritty and bass-y on the lower-tempo tracks, but more layering is added than in the past and effects are used more liberally.
Apart from instrumentals, Brothertiger's vocal quality has also become more varied. Already known for his ability to smoothly transition from a boyish soar to masculine troll, Jagos’ vocal range has increased on both ends of the spectrum. Vocal effects give Brothertiger’s voice more depth and exposure, all while retaining the quirky fuzziness that fans love.
“Golden Years” and “I’ve Been Waiting” both give off strong dance vibes, with brilliantly layered high and low synth parts that go along perfectly with Jagos’ warm voice. Both tracks have a high emphasis on their melodies, making them borderline synth-pop rather than his typical chillwave.
The low-tempo “Too Convinced to Care” has less emphasis on the melodic snyth parts, but more on the low bass lines, letting Jagos bring out more of his lower register. The bass line sounds like something more akin to a slow indie rock song. “Turquoise (Skyline),” while another slowed down track, is almost the complete opposite with more emphasis on icey keyboard parts and upper register vocals.
The two instrumental songs show Brothertiger’s ability to create vocal samples, as well as use them to his advantage whether they be the background “oohs” and “aahs” in “The Young Ones” or the soft-breathy tone in “Suddenly, Voices.”
“Out of Line” is a funkier number that belongs in Studio 54. It has the best use of instrumental sampling, ranging from classic dance claps to glitchy matrix effects.
Brothertiger takes the experimental diversity of the local scene in Athens and creates electronic bliss. Just one listen causes excitement for future releases, and subsequent listens presents new discoveries. The overall change and new styles on Golden Years make it a true gem. - ACRN