Album Review: Miniature Tigers – Vampires in the Daylight

By Anjali DasSarma

Miniature Tigers’ ‘Vampires of Daylight’ chronicles the violent, difficult, heartbreaking break-up and resulting depression of chief songwriter and frontman, Charlie Brand. His band’s sixth record, ‘Vampires of Daylight’ is an essay-like collection of Brand’s own struggles with blame and acceptance of an ending. 

“I wrote you a record and threw it away / The whole thing felt like a buzzkill / Plus you already know how you broke my heart”, he sings in the hushed opening track, ‘Caged Bird’. 

This is the band’s sixth album. Each of the albums has felt different, and in ‘Vampires in the Daylight’ each song is like a new entry of a new day. “I woke up still drunk with bleach in my hair / I wanted to feel like a stranger,” Brand sings. This plaintive description of the catalyst for this album is so picturesque. As he confided in fans on social media, this album followed a year-long writer’s block, a manic episode (involving bleach) and an intense period of depression. Brand threw himself into a different art form during his writer’s block: his raw and beautiful paintings. After writing and scrapping an entire album, he began working with Ryan Breen who also produced their 2009 record ‘Tell it to the Volcano’.

Lead single ‘Manic Upswings’ features Miniature Tigers’ signature, jangly guitar hook. “I look for you in every bottle and still couldn’t find you”, Brand sings. “I never could figure you out”. 

On title track, ‘Vampires in the Daylight’, Brand describes coming to the realization that he wants his relationship to share the same clarity as the daytime with no secrets and no self-hatred. “It may not be what you want / But I want the daylight”, he sings. It’s a turning point. We’re along for the ride in this ‘real-time’ processing of emotions. The piano interlude and soft background vocals bring us back around to regroup.

‘Better Than Ezra’ is probably the best track on the album. Brand combines his playful vocals with synthesizer hooks and overlays of guitar until the song melts into an almost church-choir reminiscent sound. Breen’s production is incredible. “I kept a caged bird, yeah / I still think of you from time to time”, he sings.

We feel the emotions and heartache along with Brand. Though maybe more grown-up than the flirtatious and flighty ‘Tell it to the Volcano’, the album doesn’t feel overly heavy. Brand shows us how an album can evoke empathy, while still remaining accessible. The entirety of ‘Vampires in the Daylight’ feels like it’s straight from the heart.

‘Vampires in the Daylight’ is out now

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