They’re inching towards their 30th anniversary, and mining the rich seam of dark cabaret continues to serve The Tiger Lillies well. Perhaps it’s the twisting together or vintage and a certain grainy, seedy undercurrent with a perennial contemporariness that’s key to the endurance of both the band and the genre. It’s the sense of nagging familiarity in the incorporation of established tropes within new songs that means there’s a comfort beneath the challenge of the new.
For their latest offering, The Tiger Lillies have gone all out, with a thematically-linked song-cycle and attendant stage show, all located within a Mexican setting for what they refer to as ‘a Latin vacation that takes a turn for the worse’.
The narrative thread isn’t immediately obvious, or perhaps I just haven’t spent enough time or paid enough attention. But the arch theatricality and the drama of low-life existence with its dangerous situations created by characters in dangerous locations are enough to carry even a casual listener through the 19 tracks. Moreover, while it works well enough as an album, it’s apparent that its real strength lies in its real-life, three-dimensional, performance context, which ought to be experienced first-hand.