Review: Tiger and Woods, On the Green Again

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Don’t come to On the Green Again expecting a sequel to Tiger and Woods’ debut Through the Green. Sure, if your first album is the best collection of disco edits ever made, it’s easy to want to be modest. But On the Green Again expands so beautifully on their sound it stands alone.

If it’s not quite as exhilarating as Through the Green, how many albums are? Few dance full-lengths this side of the Field’s From Here We Go Sublime have ever done a better job of harnessing the spiritual qualities of repetition. As Tiger and Woods looped snatches of old disco ad nauseam, they became not just hooks but mantras, prayers echoing endlessly in thin air.

Part of the reason On the Green Again is so effective is that it makes no effort to replicate these qualities. This is dance-oriented music — deep, brawny, funky, floor-filling. These aren’t even really edits. This is a straight-up disco album that relies more heavily on samples than usual, and the samples aren’t even the star anymore. A few tracks don’t seem to feature them at all.

But this is neither a reboot nor an overhaul of their signature sound. If anything, it affirms all the things the duo does best and then shows they can do much more. Tracks like “The Stopper” (already released on the Scoring Clubs EP series) and the almost Boards of Canada-like “Endless Affair” prove they do great without vocals, coaxing strange sounds out of their synths. The giant, rubbery bass that courses through most of these tracks helps; I always thought it was as key to their sound as the samples, and On The Green Again proves as much.

But the moments when we’re reminded just what these two can do with samples are the most stunning and satisfying parts of On The Green Again. One of the duo’s best tricks is looping the hell out of a disembodied vocal sample, then extending the snippet ever so slightly to reveal some sort of surprise — like the one on “Come And Get My Lovin’”, where the singer lets out a heaven-piercing high note towards the end of the song. Or “No More Talking”, one of the best tracks Tiger and Woods have ever made (and another Scoring Clubs holdover), which uses its sample as a rhythmic anchor before it unfolds into a hook that’s both pretty and kind of catchy.

All this said, On the Green Again leaves a lot to be desired front-to-back. Though there’s about as much square footage of great music here as on Through the Green, it’s interrupted by short interludes and largely unnecessary filler tracks. As On the Green Again doesn’t play like a structured, thought-out epic so much as a collection of tracks, there’s no need for the “Intro” or “Outro”, nor any reason why sketches like “RadioTiger” or “Bestissimo” shouldn’t be longer. The fact that the Scoring Clubs songs are tacked onto the end, after the “Outro”, makes them feel like afterthoughts when they would have sounded better integrated into the album’s arc. “The Stopper”, an absolute beast at ten minutes, would have made for a nice mid-album abyss.

The lack of mysterious singer ‘Em is also interesting, especially given that a few of these tracks might be improved with vocals. Listen to the beginning of “Endless Affair” and tell me it wouldn’t sound fantastic with a diva belting over it, though the echoing synths the duo chose to slather all over the track instead work fine. Though it might disrupt the mystery of the project (nobody knows for sure who these guys are), I’d be interested to see Tiger and Woods work with some big-name singers. It’s a stretch, but imagine them backing up Bruno Mars. I feel like he’d love them.

Not much is known about Tiger and Woods. They’re probably from Italy; their names are probably not Larry Tiger and John Woods. They say they’ve been active since 1993, though the Internet seems to have no knowledge of anything released before 2010. If they’re really such stalwarts, it’s amazing they’re still finding new ways to expand the scope of disco. If not, this is the sound of one of the most prodigious new talents in dance music announcing they’re here to stay. B PLUS