With its self-titled debut, Tiger Bear Wolf hits early and intensely. Opening with “Something Worth Saving,” a rousing war cry aggressive as anything Bon Scott ever screamed, the band wields its instruments as weapons in the battle for rock ’n’ roll.
No doubt, Tiger Bear Wolf is a guitar band in the strictest sense. Soaring riffs dominate the album’s first half, played by the dueling Noah Howard and Jonathan Moore. The four members, who also include bassist Matt Bostick and drummer Lawrence Holdsworth, share singing duties—if they can be called that—and openly admit on their website that “we are all working on learning how to sing.” However, the band compensates for these deficiencies with its vicious enthusiasm.
Heavy blues influences carry the album through track six. It’s a style that works well for the skilled guitarists, but toward the album’s latter half, the band backs off for a more pared-down sound. The rhythm section is solid but unremarkable, and if you subtract the triumphant guitars from the equation, there’s little to grab onto. The Tiger Bear Wolf clan may have won this first battle, but it’ll need more stamina to win the war.