ALBUM REVIEW: Smalltown Tigers – Five Things (Area Pirata Records)

Smalltown Tigers are a three-piece all-girl garage-punk band from the Italian town of Rimini, and this is their debut mini-album.

Valli (bass, vocals) and Monty (guitar, vocals) got together in 2018 and cut their teeth playing Ramones songs at squats and beach parties.

After being joined by new drummer Castel in 2019, they hit the UK for the first time last October, playing with fast-rising bands The Speedways and The Menstrual Cramps and anarcho-punks Hagar The Womb.

Their debut single Just Friends was released at the back end of last year to rave reviews, and this eight-song mini-album is the follow-up.

If you like your punk served raw, with a big dash of glam, Smalltown Tigers might just be the best thing you’ve heard for a while.

Recorded mostly live in the studio to old-school analog tape, with no overdubs, they mix the grungey sound of The Runaways with the rock ‘n’ roll chops of Suzi Quatro, and the anger of riot grrrl bands like Bikini Kill.

After opening with the swashbuckling title track, which reminds me of The Donnas, we get the aforementioned single Just Friends, and I’m immediately taken by its lo-fi sound and attitude-filled vocals.

Smalltown Tigers. Pic by Alex Poni.

Girl, with its seductive riff and off-kilter backing ooohs, is even more alluring, and suddenly, three tracks in, I’m hooked. Find Myself Another Name has fuzzy guitar and a propulsive bassline which Johnny Thunders and Richard Hell would surely approve of,

Runaway Gal‘s sleazy riff sounds inspired by Buzzcocks‘ Boredom, while the echoey surf guitar and driving bass of Darling Please owes more to US proto-punks like The Stooges than ’70s UK pioneers.

I Want It Now adds handclaps and Strokes-like riffs, while closing track The Bitch brings home the realisation that it’s probably not a good idea to get on this wrong side of this girl gang.

Smalltown Tigers have had to cancel their scheduled May UK dates.

Sadly, the Tigers’ scheduled May UK dates have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but they hope to line up some new dates for the autumn, by which time they’ll be raring to go.

Five Things is available now on CD, LP and download from Area Pirata Records HERE, and is well worth getting to know.

Gary Welford owner