Miniature Tigers – Mia Pharaoh album review

Mia Pharaoh: Not Much More Than Background Music

Sometimes a double take is necessary. Sometimes you have to give your mind a moment to adjust. Sometimes first impressions aren’t lasting impressions. However, this was not the case with Mia Pharaoh by Miniature Tigers. The first time I listened to the album, I had already formulated an opinion, a predominately negative one, and though I have listened to it repeatedly, hoping something would change as far as my opinion, it has not.

From the first note sung by front-man Charlie Brand, vocal potential is obvious, but by the end of the first line in “Sex On The Regular”, his voice can easily become annoying. Some men can sing in falsetto and have women swoon over them; Brand is not one of those men. When he sings lines like “Come over if you want it and jump me again” (Sex On The Regular) or “What’s your fantasy? Can I make you come true?” (Female Doctor), they are meant to be sexy and enticing but instead come across as dorky and virgin.

As if his adolescent voice doesn’t make the album unbearable enough, it is paired with lyrics that are equally immature. If the song is meaningful enough, melody doesn’t matter as much, but lyrics like “Trust me, if I could control it, it’d be under control” (Ugly Needs), “So high, you’re up in the sky” (Easy As All That), and “They wanna take your picture over by that thing” (Flower Door) are bland and disappointing. Of course, on “Husbands & Wives”, when Brand isn’t attempting sexuality and gives in to his youthfulness, his infantile voice is cute, almost endearing, but that is one song of ten.

On the other hand, the backing tracks improve the entire quality of the album. People will put up with poor lyrics and singing if the music sounds good. The intrumentals on the album vary from synth-pop to space age pop to even a 1950s feel. While the music behind “Husbands & Wives” transports the listener to a different time, and the music behind “Flower Door” transports the listener to another place, the music behind “Angel Bath” and “Ugly Needs” transports the listener to another dimension.

A good song should either make the listener think or feel. Overall, with few exceptions, Mia Pharaoh does neither. Ironically, the irritatingly childlike vocals and underwhelming lyrics make the album difficult to play through, but the otherworldly back beats almost classify this album as easy listening music. Though it can’t stand alone as art, any given track on Mia Pharaoh could work well as elevator music, soundtrack music for a movie, or really any form of background music.

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