Here’s what rocks: female-fronted bands. No Doubt, The Cranberries, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Alabama Shakes. I could go on.
The newest group falling under this badass umbrella is Tired Lion, a four-piece Perth, Australia-based indie rock band led by vocalist and guitarist Sophie Hopes.
The band had a busy 2015, snatching up Australian radio station Triple J’s Unearthed Artist of the Year Award, as well as two Western Australia Music Awards. This year, they’ve left the den in search of global exposure, touring the summer festival circuit — including the coveted Glastonbury — and, most recently, dropping their six-track debut EP, Figurine.
Tired Lion Creating Tireless Sounds
What I noticed right away about the EP were the elements of timelessness; their sound is evocative of ‘90s grunge and alternative rock outfits like Garbage or Letters to Cleo while simultaneously feeling fresh and authentic.
From the opening bars of the first track, “Not My Friends,” (which has an entertaining music video flashing a wink to Friends, Seinfeld, That 70s Show, The Office, and Home Improvement) I heard a distinct and instantly recognizable vocal tone. Just like Gwen Stefani, Hopes’ voice is youthful, colorful, and a bit throaty — perfect for distinguishing Tired Lion from the rest of the pride.
The quietly plucked guitars during the verses of “Pretend,” combined with the wailing distortion during the chorus, gives the second track an über ‘90s feel. This song could have easily been playing during the pivotal prom scene of a teen movie, and it’s still equally as fun to listen to today.
Later in the album I heard a more contemporary influence on “I Don’t Think You Like Me.” Hopes’ voice is lighter with a slight echo, shifting the tone from the Gwen Stefani camp to something similar to Emily Haines of Toronto-based indie rockers Metric. Unlike Metric, however, Tired Lion avoids going the synth route and stays true to the grungy rock sound that they’ve mastered.
If EPs are meant to show a sample of what a band can do, then Figurine nails it; each song is distinct from the others, yet Tired Lion has cultivated one clearly defined sound and they’re sticking to it. The album is a quick listen at just 18 minutes but I’ll be extending my play time by keeping it on repeat for a while.
Tired Lion is set to wrap up their summer festival stint with Australia’s own Splendour in the Grass at the end of July. You can learn more about them here or stream Figurine on Spotify.