The Tiger Moths may have titled their debut album ‘When Sunshine Departs,’ but the intoxicating UV rays of southern California still shine throughout the excellent ten-song project.
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The Tiger Moths – When Sunshine Departs
‘When Sunshine Departs’ is a compelling blend of late twentieth-century folk-rock and modern Americana, effectively channelling the coveted Laurel Canyon sound that defined the American counterculture of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The album feels like a time machine, transporting us back to the golden era of feathered hair and flower crowns — when the Hollywood hills were alive with social revolution and rock and roll.
But while their music may sound Californian in style, The Tiger Moths originally hail from London. The band was formed from the ashes of King of Spain, a lo-fi, alternative rock group which released two albums in the 2000s, and Erin Black and the Devil’s Hand. The five-piece band consists of Rich Orpin (vocals, guitar, and harmonica), Alex Rosenberg (piano and vocals), Tom Watson (bass and vocals), Dave Moschini (drums), and Tom Fleming (guitar).
The Tiger Moths first cut their teeth on the London live music scene and quickly garnered acclaim when they reached the Grand Final of the Isle of Wight Festival New Blood Competition in 2021. There, they gained recognition after making it to the final twenty acts, when over 5,000 initially applied. Now, with a couple of EPs already under their belts, the band is ready to soar to new heights with the release of ‘When Sunshine Departs.’
When Sunshine Departs
As with the folk-rock music that permeated California counterculture in decades past, ‘When Sunshine Departs’ was also conceived during a time of societal unrest. The album, in large part, was born in the midst of the confusion, fear, and tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. Most of the songs from the project were written during this time period, and many reflect the themes of isolation and loneliness that were ever-present throughout society in those years. ‘When Sunshine Departs,’ the titular track, is told from the point of view of a man dying alone in a hospital, and was written at the height of the first lockdown in April of 2020. ‘Dreaming of Yesterday’ (a highlight of the album) and ‘Lost in the Rain,’ meanwhile, were both penned during early 2021, offering reflections on a past and a sense of normalcy that would seemingly never return.
The band recorded the album at their home studio in North London, where it was produced and engineered by keyboardist Alex Rosenberg. The Tiger Moths aimed to put a modern twist on Americana by fusing it with their strongest influences, primarily the folk-rock music of the 60s and 70s, where the group’s sound has its roots. To get that authentic classic feel, the group recorded ‘When Sunshine Departs’ with vintage instruments, including a ’72 Fender Bassman and Marshall JCM800 Lead Series, ’77 Fender P bass, ’77 Fender Stratocaster and ’74 Fender Telecaster along with a Rhodes and Wurlitzer from the 70s.
The result is an album with a unique blend of sounds that combine to complement one another. The project is defined by memorable vocals and a strong harmonica presence reminiscent of Bob Dylan, upbeat riffs that channel The Byrds, and a funky, modern indie style characteristic of early Vampire Weekend tunes.
‘When Sunshine Departs’ is the first full-length offering from a band that came together during a difficult period to create something meaningful. It’s a snapshot of that moment in time — of society, of the COVID-19 pandemic, and of The Tiger Moths themselves. And, perhaps, above all else, it’s just a great listen. Give it a play this week — you’ll be putting flowers in your hair in no time.
‘When Sunshine Departs’ is a compelling blend of late twentieth-century folk-rock and modern Americana, effectively channelling the coveted Laurel Canyon sound that defined the American counterculture of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
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Words Elizabeth Braaten