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Tygers Of Pang Tang - 'The Wildcat Sessions' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/7d/1a/24/476_TygersPangTang_1282661555.jpg Hot

Added by James Gaden     August 24, 2010    
 
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Re-recordings of classic material by the current line up.

The ticks and scratches of a well-worn record give way to a phased drum roll and bang! – it’s ‘one-two-three-four, euthanasia, OK!’ Except this isn’t 1980, and it’s not Jess Cox’s distinctive vocals cutting through the speakers. ‘The Wildcat Sessions’ isn’t another brace of early Tygers Of Pan Tang demos but a twenty-four minute EP featuring five songs re-arranged and re-recorded from their 1980 debut album ‘Wild Cat’ by the 2010 version of the band.

Now, there are two ways of looking at this. On the one hand, founder member and guitarist Robb Weir has every right to give the material a bit of spit ‘n’ polish and bring it up to date. There are a couple of nifty re-arrangements on offer and some nice touches too, like the aforementioned nod to the past and the motorbike that speeds past to round off final cut ‘Wild Catz’, as well as a few lyrical additions. The rest of the band – guitarist Dean Robertson, bassist Brian West, drummer Craig Ellis and vocalist Jacopo Meille (a man with such a range he occasionally sounds like he’s hyperventilating) – are no slouches and the meat in the Tyger sandwich (‘Slave To Freedom’, ‘Suzie Smiled’ and ‘Don’t Touch Me There’) are spruced up as professionally as the bookend tracks.

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On the other hand, what’s the point? Why mess with perfection? On its release in July 1980, ‘Wild Cat’ received a not unrespectable three-and-a-half star review in Sounds (although to my mind that’s still one star too few) and it peaked at No.18 in the UK album charts – a very decent result indeed. With its harsh, in-your-face Chris Tsangarides production, which made monsters out of Weir’s guitar and the rhythm section of bassist Rocky and drummer Brian Dick, Cox’s brutal vocals and a brace of exciting and upbeat compositions, the album is highly regarded, and again, in my opinion, has never been bettered by the Tygers.

I’ve sat on the fence so long I’ve got splinters in my arse, so I’ll have to make a decision and I’m coming down on the side of the latter view. Am I right or wrong? Pick a copy up from www.tygersofpantang.com and make up your own mind.
John Tucker
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