All the Time (Fire Tiger Music)
The glory of Los Angeles’ very own Fire Tiger is in their complete and utter, pointblank refusal to give the slightest shit about trends. In the conventional sense, there’s literally nothing cool about this lot. Nothing. While singer Tiff Alkouri stands at the front with her teased hair like a hybrid of Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and Debbie Gibson, her bandmates flank her with awkward poses and clothes that look too shiny to have been bought at a thrift store but too garish to have been bought anywhere else. It should all point towards nothing but wretched nonsense or, at best, tedium.
But oh god, it works. It works like a complete bastard. Every song is a determined ear worm, working it’s way into your head and settling in the part of the brain that makes you want to get off your lockdown-worn sofa and dance, in your living room. Even if, especially if, you’re generally not the sort of person who indulges in that sort of thing.
Part of that is probably nostalgia-based, sure. Anyone who remembers the ’80s with any sort of joy and can remove the cynic-goggles will find something to love here. But the members of Fire Tiger are not worn and grizzled old journeymen musicians clinging on to the days when they peaked. No, these are youthful, fresh-faced peeps, who have discovered the joy of synth/guitar combos, verses that build to ridiculously catchy choruses, and not taking oneself too seriously.
Their music really spans the gamut of the ’80s too; there’s synth-pop going on here, new romantic, hair metal — nothing is too outdated and joyful for this five-piece to drag kicking and screaming into joyless 2020.
Opener “Don’t Take Me Home” has a strong Pat Benatar vibe — Alkouri belting out a power anthem that sets the tone. “So Many Fishes” could be a single with a chorus you could imagine the other Tiffany singing in a shopping mall back in the day.
“Magical Brew” is the best song Madonna hasn’t done since Like a Prayer, and then “Silly Thing to Do” slaps you in the face with some Berlin/Motels new-wave brilliance. And so it goes on.
All the Time is Fire Tiger’s third album, and we’re not even sure it’s their best. But it’s an absolutely wonderful antidote to pandemic blues.