Mary Timony: Untame The Tiger [Album Review]

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Mary Timony
Untame The Tiger
Merge Records [2024]

Album Overview: Untame the Tiger is Mary Timony’s fifth solo album, marking her return to solo work after a 15-year hiatus. It explores themes of loss, self-discovery, and resilience, drawing from Timony’s personal experiences, including the dissolution of a long-term relationship and the deaths of her parents. The album serves as a testament to her journey through struggle and transformation, reflecting her growth as an artist and individual.

Musical Style: The album features a mystical and guitar-driven sound, with Timony’s distinctive vocals leading the way. It encompasses elements of garage rock, folk, and indie rock, creating a diverse sonic landscape that showcases Timony’s versatility as a musician. The instrumentation ranges from stripped-back acoustic arrangements to energetic, guitar-driven tracks, reflecting the emotional depth and complexity of the album’s themes. The album has a very solo effort vibe to it compared to her indie group Ex Hex.

Evolution of Sound: Untame the Tiger picks up threads from Timony’s earlier solo work while exploring new sonic territory. It retains the folk-tinged, introspective qualities of her early 2000s solo albums while incorporating a more mature and refined musical approach. The album demonstrates Timony’s growth as both a songwriter and musician, showcasing her ability to evolve while staying true to her artistic vision.

Artists with Similar Fire: Fans of Mary Timony may also appreciate artists like Sleater-Kinney, Courtney Barnett and Liz Phair. Of course if you loved Helium, Wild Flag, and Ex Hex, as well this album will feel at home.

Pivotal Tracks: “No Thirds” is the opening track that reflects on loss and resilience, with wide-open, barren verses that evoke a sense of emptiness and uncertainty. It really is a staple Mary Timony sounding track. “The Guest” features stripped-back acoustic instrumentation and explores the theme of loneliness with its undertone of country-twinge. “Summer” is a high-energy track that celebrates Timony’s guitar prowess, drawing inspiration from classic rock influences and featuring a twin guitar solo conclusion. “Dominoes” has a perfect build of indie rock as it offers a cynical yet humorous take on relationships and the healing power of music.

Lyrical Strength: Timony’s lyrics on Untame the Tiger dive deep into loss, self-discovery, and acceptance with honesty and vulnerability. Her words are imbued with emotional depth and introspection, offering listeners a glimpse into her personal journey and struggles. The album’s lyrical strength lies in its ability to resonate with listeners on a deep level, inviting them to reflect on their own experiences.

The Shapes We Made (2007)

Ex Hex: It’s Real (2019) / Ex Hex: Rips (1994) / Wild Flag (2011)

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Christopher Anthony
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