Fond of Tigers’ second album, Release the Saviours is an ambitious and focused synthesis of mathy freakouts, off-kilter jazz, ambient sound sculpture, abstract improvisation, and a rare feel for making music that is both challenging and highly listenable. Much of the ecstatic intensity on Release the Saviours comes from the group’s self-immolating interest in unusual rhythmic and melodic structure, as well as instrumental arrangements that are the sonic equivalent of roller derby and jai-alai played simultaneously in a racquetball court. But even when some parts sound like the band has split into teams and angrily squared off against each other, the attentive listener is rewarded—after some suspense—as the parts come do at last come together, the music as joyful as it is visceral.
Fond of Tigers have been developing a complicated, beautiful sound since 2003. Led by guitarist Stephen Lyons and featuring seven of Vancouver’s leading creative musicians, Fond of Tigers play a layered, nuanced music that explores musical possibilities ranging from the smallest gesture of extended technique, to the full avant-rock bombast possible with a wild, double-drum-kit-led septet. Although admitting that “jazz purists will find little to comfort them”, Coda magazine named the group’s debut recording, a thing to live with (also on Drip Audio) “one of the best releases of 2006”. In just under 50 minutes, the band (variously described in print as "compelling", "eclectic", "transcendent", "hypnotic", and "post-everything") showcased their visceral combination of meticulous odd-time composition and improvisational abandon, resulting in a sometimes confusing, always exhilarating ordered chaos. With a passionate and adventurous live performance that has been descrived as “mind-blowing” by numerous reviewers, Fond of Tigers has shared stages with artists such as Tortoise, Chad Vangaalen, Xiu Xiu, Polmo Polpo, and Frog Eyes, while members of Fond of Tigers have collaborated with NoMeansNo’s Rob Wright, Eugene Chadbourne, Fred Frith, Great Aunt Ida, Ches Smith (Secret Chiefs 3), Joe Fonda, and many others. Fond of Tigers’ intense and idiosyncratic sound inhabits an undefined musical territory somewhere in the outlands of avant-rock.