Tiga – Sexor

There are times when reviewing things as they hit particular anniversaries can be a little depressing, and so it is with Tiga‘s debut album Sexor, which first appeared a decade ago this week.

After a short introduction with Welcome to Planet Sexor, proceedings kick off in fine form with the excellent single (Far from) Home. It’s short, sweet, and an entirely excellent song,  with a memorable video too. Every summer compilation should include it.

You Gonna Want Me brings a great backing vocal from Jake Shears, of Scissor Sisters fame, which given Tiga‘s track record up to this point makes for a slightly surprising collaboration, but the results are entirely brilliant, with the slightly acidic backing track and clever vocal play-offs.

High School is great too, with an enormous 1980s-style pad breakdown a minute or so in. I’ve no idea what he’s singing about here (something about running for miles and miles), but it’s catchy and inventive, and difficult to fault.

The spoken word interludes are the odd side of this album – on the first, Jamaican BoaTiga gets a call from a friend asking to accompany him on a trip to a pet shop to look at snakes. This leads us into Louder Than a Bomb, a remix of a 1988 Public Enemy track, which adds lots of harsh electronics and bleeps.

Pleasure from the Bass is next, also a single, in which Tiga plays his own vocals against acid bass sounds and crisp drums. There isn’t a lot else here, so if you’re looking for something soft and beautiful, this is the wrong place to look, but it’s compelling and pretty great nonetheless.

A curious little piece called Who’s That? follows, guiding us steadily towards the softer Down in It, a cover of a Nine Inch Nails song from 1989, presumably with rather more synth woodblock than the original. Tiga may not be the most amazing singer, but he’s more than good enough for this song, which works extremely well.

The Ballad of Sexor is an interesting piece of songwriting with some particularly odd lyrics, but in general it works pretty well. Tiga‘s obvious love of the 1980s has left him with strong melody writing abilities, and this is played off nicely here against the minimal dance synth sounds.

The longer Good as Gold follows, taking us into darker territory before another short interlude, Flexible Skulls, and then the Speed of Sexor reprise of (Far from) Home, a meatier version of the earlier song which unfortunately cuts out pretty much all of the melody, making it not quite as satisfying.

The acid house version of Burning Down the House which follows is much more like it. This song with this backing track make for an unlikely pairing, but it works really well. It leads into the lively 3 Weeks, and then another great song in the form of Brothers. Here, it sounds as though Tiga is singing about his own relationship with his brother, which leaves us with a sweet, catchy song. All the way through, the grimy electro noises in the background continue, making for a compelling combination.

Sir Sir Sir belongs very firmly in the late 1980s, but as we now know that definitely isn’t a bad thing. It’s an excellent song, which closes out a great album perfectly. Well, almost closes it out – there’s a little room right at the end for what I think is called 8455584 Mommy, an answerphone message from Tiga‘s mother, who if this message is to be believed, is particularly soppy.

Sexor was a very promising debut, which a couple of years ago would lead to the more consistent but ultimately less satisfying Ciao! (2009) and then a very long bout of silence on the album front. Hopefully he’ll be back soon, and hopefully whatever he delivers will be at least as good as this.

You can still find Sexor at regular retailers. Try to find the double CD version, if it’s available in your part of the world.

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