Wheher by accident or design, thanks to his 2012 debut ‘Golden Years’, Brothertiger became a member of the new Chillwave movement. The record captured that same feeling of 80s synth pop dressed up in dreamy, ambient clothing and it was all the work of Brooklyn-based John Jagos. ‘Future Splendours’ is a swift follow-up and one which flows seamlessly from the first long player.
Firstly, the bad news. What cannot be doubted about Jagos is his ear for a fine tune but, this doesn’t always bring lasting rewards. A surprising choice for a lead single, ‘In Mind’ is light and insubstantial and not helped by Jagos’s pleasant but rather indistinct vocals, and an insipid duet on ‘Further On’ also fails to convince. Yet these prove to be exceptions. Opener ‘Up From Below’ seems to be rather lightweight initially but the key change for the chorus is uplifting and a jangly guitar figure and strong rhythmic pulse create a very infectious ‘Crazy, Again’ but it’s also a song with depth and intrigue. Furthermore, ‘You Should Know’ is populated by busy programmed beats and a charming, wistful turn from Jagos whilst disco anthem in-waiting ‘Particle Horizon’ is another definite highlight; here Jagos keeps the melody simple but the 80’s cheese is balanced with insistent rhythms.
Brothertiger still resembles a less complex Junior Boys but within the retro-stylings and airy vocals, there’s a lot more going in here than you might initially think. Chillwave, dreampop or whatever you want to call it, Jagos writes good pop songs, pure and simple.
Washed Out, Junior Boys