Unashamedly rock n’ roll, Glasgow’s Tijuana Bibles bring an explosive energy to their music, moving on from their bluesy 2013 Wild River EP and venturing into a more aggressive style with Ghost / Dance / Movement, released last year. Drawing heavily from the emerging rock n’ roll style prevalent in the 1950s US as well as more recent US blues rock bands such as The Black Keys and Cage the Elephant, Tijuana Bibles embody that very specific, adolescent brand of rebellious spirit better than any other local band. This comes across especially well in their music videos, which use film reel effects and excerpts from Golden Age-era Hollywood films to create a style anachronistic of American culture at that time.
Their Wild River EP immediately draws a comparison to The Black Keys’ ‘Tighten Up’ and Cage the Elephant’s debut release in the contrast between soulful vocals, anecdotal lyricism, and blues-rock-revival twangy guitars. This anecdotal style is a blues rock trope, evident in most of their songs – an emphasis on lyrics that tell a story or are in the second person. Highlights on this EP include the thudding bassline on ‘Howlin’ Moon’ and the combination of rapid ticking drums and vocal interplay on ‘Runnin’ Red Fruit’. Ghost / Dance / Movement expands on the ideas of the Wild River EP, and develops them in a more noise-oriented direction. Where Wild River draws from the 50s, Ghost / Dance / Movement draws from the 80s, with the advent of self-described “hard rock” bands such as Guns n’ Roses and Van Halen instilling a substantial influence on this album. T
he frantic, distorted guitar lines that kick off the album on ‘Apogee’ likewise mark this change of direction for the band, with the still bluesy vocals grounding them in the style of the Wild River EP and the end of the track soon descending into raving screams reminiscent of, again, Cage the Elephant (specifically ‘James Brown’). The increased scope of the band is evident here, with the slow, airy guitar melodies on ‘Six to Midnight’ morphing through a multitude of blues rock and rock n’ roll styles during its 4 minute length. Promising to be a very enjoyable live act, fans of good old-fashioned rock n’ roll would be in for a treat to catch them at the upcoming QMU Live Fest.