A partial print
I'm going to admit from the start that I had some difficulty with "A partial print" when I listened to it on Startracks' page a week or so before its release. I was overwhelmed and excited by the opening five compositions, and then this feeling slipped a little - the abandonment of Tiger Lou's typically quite structured, complete arrangements on tracks like "Trails of spit" seemed to dilute the weight of the songs' conclusions, and the closing, nine-minute long opus felt too ambling and unfocused to be a proper culmination of the album's energies. I admit these issues here only to demonstrate that "A partial print" is not an album that reveals its immediacy, its intentioned presence on a first or second listen - what you are presented with is a collage, a collection of images, all of them darkly beautiful extensions of the emotional landscape of "The loyal", but the connections between these impressions can take some time to present themselves, but they will, and then "A partial print" comes fully into being.
The tone of "A partial print" is a dark one, represented not only in the recurring theme of leaving a small fragment of yourself behind, but in the intricate abandon and melancholy of the instrumentation which, on a number of occasions, evolves into heavy, post-hardcore breakdowns akin to the efforts on Small Brown Bike's brilliant swansong "The river bed". The production on the album is fantastic, accentuating the full drum arrangements, the beautiful guitar and bass work, and, of course, Rasmus Kellerman's magnificent, haunting voice. "The less you have to carry", in my opinion the greatest song Tiger Lou have crafted, is the first to truly bear the burden of "A partial print", and is therefore the song that fashions the aesthetic tenets of the album. The line "A partial print is all that I'm leaving behind, a little something to remember me by" is repeated in the closing title track, giving the record an unsettling conclusion - that of an endless cycle of departure and loss, but, as Tiger Lou established themselves as the masters of harrowing grace with "The loyal", this journey doesn't feel haunted or disillusioned, not even as you retrace your footsteps. Nor is it all a cynical, disheartening experience - glimmers of hope shine through in "So demure" and the single "Crushed by a crowd".
"A partial print" is difficult, complicated, heartbreaking, and inspiring - everything we've come to expect from Tiger Lou.
- Lars Garvey Laing-Peterson