Three Trapped Tigers – Route One or Die

Three Trapped Tigers are an instrumental trio from London, England. This is their first full-length album although they have released EPs previous to this. They have been referred to as everything from ‘dream pop’ to ‘noise rock’. On this album they combine math rock, post rock and IDM. The keyboards are usually more important than the guitar. Even most of the basslines are done on synth I think. They make a lot of use of the ‘arpeggiater’ setting on synthesizers. Basically, you play some notes and the synth repeats them, depending on the setting they could be exactly what you played or in a random order. The way the arpeggiater is used here mimics the way guitars are played in a lot of math rock (tapping, etc.).

“Cramm” opens the album with drums that sound like they are made out of metal and a guitar imitating a folky fiddle. Eventually goes into a rockin’ disjointed groove. Then you get the first taste of the great arpeggiater chords. In the middle just guitar for awhile before the whole band comes back rockin’ hard. Sounds like programmed drums at the beginning of “Noise Trade” with some minor keys on electric piano and guitar. Stays low-key until everything gets louder and more distorted later. Mix of programmed drumming with distorted guitar and symphonic synths towards the end. “Creepies” begins with more complex drumming than the first two songs (along with guitar sounds like feedback). Goes into an intense horror-movie like vibe before turning into some kind of noise-reggae. A truly whacked out guitar solo before some awesome synth bass brings back the crazy drumming which sounds partly electronic. Rocks out at the end.

“Ulnastricter” is one of the standout tracks. Love the echoed electronic percussion at the beginning. The song starts out based on an IDM-style minor key melody. Love the call-and-response between the synth and guitar at one point; the guitar then just goes on its own, almost soloing. The track builds up and gets more post-rock sounding, eventually getting more math rock sounding. Returns to the original minor key melody at the end with crazy math rock guitar soloing over top. “Zil” is the most mellow and ambient track while next song “Drebin” is the noisiest and most math rockish. While the previous two songs sounded like IDM and math rock, respectively, “Magne” sounds like post-rock. Specifically a mix of Tortoise and Mogwai. This song has a great flow to it.

“Reset” is another highlight which has a great humourous and weird video for it. Opens with hypnotic arpeggiater followed by a sinister sounding arpeggiater. The bass drum is steady thumping away. The vibe this creates is just intense. Later things mellow out with some post rock style guitar and piano…all while the bass drum is still thumping away. Changes to a part with some single guitar chords and some intricate African-styled drumming. A synth vaguely solos over top. This builds up to some steady strumming from guitar as the drummer proceeds to go apesh*t as some wonderful “ahh” vocals float over top.

What a fantastic ending to such a great album! Route One Or Die is a great modern album (there is also a remix[yea, that kind of remix] version of the album as well). Great sound and production along with some great compositions and performances. The arpeggiater use is great, making the music sometimes sound like Animal Collective on acid. Recommended to both post-rock fans and math rock fans who also enjoy a lot of electronics.


1. Cramm (4:59)
2. Noise Trade (4:59)
3. Creepies (5:40)
4. Ulnastricter (5:24)
5. Zil (4:10)
6. Drebin (4:47)
7. Magne (6:52)
8. Reset (6:04)


* Tom Rogerson – piano, keyboards, vocalist
* Adam Betts – drums, electronics
* Matt Calvert – guitar, synths, electronics


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