Tiger Army – Early Years EP (Hellcat)

The Early Years EP, as its name implies, is a short collection of Tiger Army’s earliest recordings. As such, it’s meant primarily for fans of the band who have been unable to locate the vinyl Temptation EP or unwilling to purchase Give ‘Em the Boot II for the one Tiger Army track. I feel the same as Nick 13 of Tiger Army who writes in the liner notes, “If I really dig a band/artist, I want everything they’ve ever done…. If you’re like me in this way, then this EP was put together for you.”

Tiger Army play what they call “psychobilly” — a blend of punk and rockabilly. On the early demo “Nocturnal,” you can hear the raw edges of their sound. The stand up bass leads the charge along with minimal snare-and-cymbal drums. The overdriven guitar sits back in the mix providing more atmosphere than attack. Nick 13’s voice already shows promise.

It is on their covers that they really excel. The Misfit’s “American Nightmare” is given the honky-tonk treatment that it always deserved. On Eddie Cochran’s “Twenty Flight Rock,” Tiger Army pull out all the stops — tight starts and stops, blistering guitar solo, hopping bass line, and Nick’s cigarette-stained and energetic voice.

Fans of edgy rockabilly probably already know about Tiger Army and should be happy to hear of this EP’s release. It may not be the perfect introduction to the genre, but completists will no doubt commend Tiger Army for their attention to fans. And it comes in a bitchin’ cardboard record sleeve to boot.