A few facts: Last week, Tigers Jaw announced that they have a new album coming out on June 3rd. It’s called Charmer and there are a lot of people who are very excited about it. These people are excited for good reason. Tigers Jaw have an immensely enjoyable back catalog but lost a few members last year, putting their future in jeopardy. Charmer is worth celebrating for a number of fans, and should catch the ears of new ones.
I mention these facts up front because the lead single, “Nervous Kids”, is more enjoyable when taken on its own without anticipation or expectations. The track kicks off with a chunky guitar riff that quickly gets accompanied by a dense and straightforward drum beat. As the verse progresses, vocalist Ben Walsh brings out the lines “your problems look so big from the ground / raise them up for all to see / shout them from the top of the Twin Peaks” before launching into the chorus of “We’re just nervous kids.” He sounds confident, calm and comfortable wedged between the flams and splashes that accompany the chords. His words carry strength without having the meaning forced into them.
From there, the track meanders warmly between instrumental breaks and repeats of the main line. As it moves throughout sections, “Nervous Kids” shows its strength in its precision. The track is as focused and tight as the band has ever sounded, and they wear the hat well. Drummer Pat Brier throws in a number of well-placed fills that push the song along and keep it from droning, while the outro’s layered guitar melodies smoothly finish things off. Listening to “Nervous Kids” feels like watching the band exercise restraint when they could have let the reigns go.
When all is said and done, it’s unlikely that “Nervous Kids” will be the band’s standout performance on Charmer. That being said — stripped of the fanfare surrounding its release — it’s an immensely enjoyable track. The tight performance, sing-along qualities and straightforward confidence make it one that will be worth revisiting time and time again.