We couldn't wait to hear the formidable new release from Italy's top Punk trio - Smalltown Tigers!
Many of us first came across Rimini’s Smalltown Tigers when they supported The Damned‘s ‘Original 4’ UK Reunion Tour in 2022. Bursting upon the stage with a tremendous amount of energy, Valli (vocals/bass), Monty (guitar) and Castel (drums) rapidly won the ears and hearts of all those present. Their eagerly anticipated first full-length album ‘Crush On You‘ is set for release this week!
Invited to open for the headliners on every date by The Damned themselves, Smalltown Tigers impressed both the band and their fans so much that they were duly asked to join The Damned’s spring Eurotrek in 2023, which saw the three surfer girls playing for the first time to audiences in France, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands and Switzerland.
Last spring, Smalltown Tigers headed to L’Amor Mio Non Muore studio in the town of Forli to record with the same team who chaperoned ‘Five Things‘, their 2020 debut mini-album. Producer Stiv Cantarelli and engineer Robi Villa (of punk-blues duo J.D. Hangover – Forli’s answer to Suicide!) worked with the band to nail down 10 tracks in just three days, which were then mixed by Villa – “the best pair of ears in Emilia-Romagna” – before being sent once again to Detroit garage maven Jim Diamond, (White Stripes, Dirtbombs, Von Bondies, etc) for mastering.
The result of these efforts is both a nod to their heroes the Ramones, plus added Tigers own style of Garage Punk, honed by playing the songs during their numerous live shows across Europe.
Opening the album at full throttle ‘Meet Me In The City‘ is dark and dramatic. Drums are hammered and guitars turned up to maximum with a blistering solo to end the song!
Title track and first single release ‘Crush On You‘ is Ramones Rock ‘n’ Roll, particularly in the lyrics, and is catchy as hell to boot!
Showcasing the Smalltown Tigers’ virtuosity, the third track ‘In A Dream‘ is a wonderful, hard-hitting take on 1960s pop.
‘Teddy Bear‘ has an edge of L7 to it, with agressive vocals and distorted piano (in the middle section), before the guitars accelerate to a wild conclusion.
The rapid pace continues in ‘I Want You‘, with a slower Beatles-esque ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah‘ chorus, before returning to 250 bpm!
‘Maybe‘ stands out for its melodic yet lively thrashing guitars accompanied by dexterously interwoven lead and backing vocals.
“1 2 3 4” introduces ‘Monster‘, a real homage to Johnny Ramone‘s guitar sound, and this vigorous track will immediately have you kicking up your heels!
‘Dressed Right And Skinny‘ has an element of 1970s Glam Rock, overlaid with 1980s Ramones-style riffs and vocals.
The Punk ‘n’ Roll track ‘Joey‘ is another fast song, coming in at just over 2 minutes!
Album closer ‘Killed Myself When I Was Young‘ gets heavier, rockier and grungier, with a crazy sax blaring to bring the number to an abrupt finish.
Smalltown Tigers are on an upward trajectory and ‘Crush On You‘ is a fitting debut full album to display their talent. These Tigers will not be tamed! Available from Area Pirata Records HERE, ‘Crush On You‘ is out on 9th February.
A ‘Crush On You’ UK Tour has been announced – see the poster below – and Smalltown Tigers will also be playing the three Stone Valley Festivals in Hertfordshire (24-26 May), Nottinghamshire (21-23 June) and Durham (9-11 Aug).
“The world needs a band like the Tigers. You can quote me on that.” BRIAN JAMES
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‘Usually found jumping around down the front at gigs, I also relish taking photos and videos, singing, speaking with fellow music fans, and asking musicians the questions nobody else does Writing about my favourite bands and connecting with people who love music too keeps me more-or-less sane I’ve worked for over 25 years at a video production company, mainly filming live music events, therefore I have an additional backstage perspective!’