TIGER VILLAGE “Amblyopiac” (Suite 309)

I am the opposite of an amblyopiac. I have such intense control over my eye muscles that I can move them independently of each other, like a chameleon does. Now, I understand that you’re probably like, “Ryan, is this one of your stupid review intros in which you make something up and then let it veer off into nothingness by the end?” But this is not the case. I can truly do this, and it freaks out everybody I show it to. If you meet me in real life, reference this review and I’ll do my thing.

Tiger Village’s Amblyopiac, the tenth gall-dang album under Tim Thornton’s Tiger Village moniker, if you can believe it, is an ode to the “kids in surgery,” a situation that amblyopia sometimes (but not always) leads to. Commonly referred to as “lazy eye,” amblyopia “is a disorder of sight in which the brain fails to process inputs from one eye and over time favors the other eye. It results in decreased vision in an eye that otherwise typically appears normal.” You know what someone with lazy eye looks like. It’s as if they’re not quite looking directly at you when they’re speaking to you, because you don’t know which eye to focus on. It can be unsettling, but that’s nothing compared to how the amblyopiac likely feels – let’s try a little empathy, ok guys?

Maybe Amblyopiac is an aural exploration of this phenomenon? Think of it this way: Tiger Village pummels you throughout the album with abstract rhythmic experiments and synth-pulse workouts, and it can be a challenge to hook onto a groove (not saying that’s a necessary thing or anything, but bear with me). If in the polyrhythmic onslaught the brain favors one rhythm over another, gradually allowing the other’s signals to weaken as it gets picked up, then the result would not be unlike the identity Amblyopiac registers. That everything comes off a bit … cockeyed? … is to Amblyopiac’s credit – there’s never less than full fascination or the demand of full attention throughout its eight tracks.

Or maybe this whole thing is an album-length meditation on the Silversun Pickups classic. Who am I to decide?