The Republic Tigers, Keep Color (Chop Shop, 2008)

The Republic Tigers are an indie band hailing from Kansas City. Their lineup consists of Kenn Jankowski (vocal and guitar), Adam McGill and Ryan Pinkston (guitars and vocals), Marc Pepperman (bass), and Justin Tricomi (drums and vocals). Their 2008 debut CD Keep Color is an intriguing assortment of cerebral pop with lyrics steeped in sci-fi imagery.

While not strictly a concept album, most of Jankowski's lyrics on Keep Color deal with maintaining individuality and finding your hidden potential in a world that subverts your best intentions. The tone is set with the opening verse of the first song and single, "Buildings and Mountains." "We've been waiting all our lives, for things we've always had but had no eyes to see. Something new is going to happen, the most natural thing but nothing we'd expect." The rest of Keep Color maintains that theme, through a series of songs that are all at least decent. Jankowski has a brainy-sounding delivery when he sings, which I suppose adds to the nerd appeal of the record. The music is mostly mid-tempo rock, and while you could argue that it's a little too mid-tempo on the whole, there are a couple of standout tracks. "Buildings and Mountains" and the very danceable "Fight Song" are both worthy singles, but the darkly intense "Golden Sands" is my favorite.

Keep Color is likable debut from a promising band. The Republic Tigers will return with a new album later this year, and I look forward to hearing it.

Overall grade: B+

Reviewed by Scott

"Buildings and Mountains" live on David Letterman

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