Pennsylvania’s Tigers Jaw have figured out the shape of emo to come | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Pennsylvania’s Tigers Jaw have figured out the shape of emo to come


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For a moment back in 2013 it looked like fourth-wave emo was going to lose one of its brightest lights after Tigers Jaw’s label Run for Cover issued a statement announcing that the Scranton group were calling it a day following the departure of three of their five members. Thankfully, the split didn’t take. And last month Tigers Jaw fulfilled what I’d seen as their big-time destiny, or at least their breakthrough as it’s measured in big-I industry terms: they released an album called Spin through Black Cement, a new Atlantic Records imprint helmed by Pennsylvania punk guru Will Yip. These days major-label deals feel cosmetic at best, but they’re also what the contemporary emo scene has largely been missing, and Spin sounds like, um, a major step forward. It’s the first Tigers Jaw album on which keyboardist-vocalist Brianna Collins and guitarist-vocalist Ben Walsh are responsible for everything—their previous album, 2014’s Charmer, features contributions from all former members—and it builds on the band’s legacy of doleful power-pop melodies, yearning guitars, and radiant keys that molt as they exude warmth. Collins and Walsh are in lockstep, and their songs are tight and unexpectedly carefree. Even on “June,” when Collins sings about a friend suffering through an emotionally abusive relationship, Tigers Jaw are able to find the bright spots that keep them looking ahead.   v

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