The Perfume of Decay has some of the best tracks that Tigercub has released yet, equally crushing the heaviest and softest tracks in the band’s discography. While the album could have been ordered a bit better, Tigercub’s third record is one of the better rock releases this year, with enough variety for everyone to find something to like.
After releasing Abstract Figures in the Dark in 2016, Tigercub has been one of the most interesting and productive members of the alt-rock scene. With vocalist Jamie Hall also releasing several albums under the name Nancy (albeit with more of a pop-rock sound), and 2021’s As Blue as Indigo being one of the best rock records of the year, the three-piece band from the UK has continuously evolved in both their albums and Hall’s solo work; Tigercub’s third album, The Perfume of Decay, is another great release with an incredibly unique sound.
Tigercub has always bounced between rock subgenres, but the first half of The Perfume of Decay has the band sticking to a blaring hard rock sound that the band has only occasionally dug into before. The title track is perfectly punchy while keeping Hall’s vocals front and center, not losing a bit of the catchiness Tigercub has had in their more indie-rock flavored tracks; the short, catchy, and hard-as-hell “Play My Favorite Song” shows this off as well. Tigercub delivered some excellent singles for The Perfume of Decay but the best track in the first half of the album might be “The Dark Below”. The beginning guitar riff hooks you immediately, Hall’s vocals are fantastic, as is the instrumentation, and the track only gets better and catchier as it goes.
‘You’re so extrovert
excellent in every world
you’re so beautiful
it hits me with a thousand tonnes
oh I shake and I shiver
when my back’s against the wall
I shake and I shiver
when my back’s against the wall’
In the second half of the project, the album begins to slow down a bit from the more ‘in your in your face’ first six tracks, and The Perfume of Decay doesn’t miss a beat. “You’re My Dopamine” is one of the heavier tracks in the back half, but Hall’s vocals are smooth on the back end. Hall sounds incredible on the quiet, sing-songy verses on “It Hurts When You’re Around”, as does the instrumental when it comes blaring in for the hook.
“We’re A Long Time Gone” is a wonderful bass-heavy track with very simple, catchy work from the instruments and an almost acoustic style to it. “Shadowgraph” is the standout track of the bunch with the best instrumentals on the project and another wonderful instrumental explosion during the hook that continues into the outro. While the first half of the project may have the singles to pull attention to it, the second half arguably has more of the higher-quality tracks.
The split between the two sounds on The Perfume of Decay does create some issues in how listenable a couple of tracks are. With the album’s killer singles frontloaded into the first five tracks and the intro just being a short instrumental, “Show Me My Maker” (a very solid track) is just swarmed by several of the better tracks Tigercub has ever made. In the softer second half, “Until I Forget” is completely out of place. The track is loud, aggressive, and while it would have made for a fine track on its own, it completely stands out among the tracks that surround it.
The Perfume of Decay flexes the talent Tigercub has to offer and shows off how capable the band is at bouncing back and forth between the number of styles they can nail, as well as providing some of the band’s strongest tracks to date. While the band’s third album does come with some warts in its sequencing, it doesn’t prevent the album from being another strong entry into their discography.