Tygers Of Pan Tang – “The Cage” (1982)

Tygers de-clawed.  The fourth Tygers album saw the band make a significant sonic shift from hard rock/metal to straight up pop rock.  To the band’s fans at the time, this must have felt like being socked in the nuts with a bag of nickels.  After all, in 1981 Tygers released one of the seminal NWOBHM LPs with the excellent Spellbound, and followed that up with the rushed, but still quality outing Crazy Nights (also 1981).  But with The Cage, Tygers Of Pan Tang went headfirst and unashamed into commercial rock waters, sometimes even courting Duran Duran like pop tendencies.  To many hard rock and metal fans today, The Cage is viewed as an unmitigated disaster, a defecation on the Tygers Of Pan Tang (once) good name.  However, I do my best to listen to The Cage with an open mind.  Easy for me to do, I guess, since I wasn’t one of those Tygers fans waiting anxiously for the new album in 1982, only to be left with a broken heart and a set of swollen nuts.  With the benefit of thirty years of distance, I can freely enjoy Jon Deverill’s smooth vocals, and the infectious hooks of Rendezvous and Lonely At The Top, and the experimental nature of Tides and Making Tracks (experiments that I think work pretty well might I add).  Once the shock of the new Tygers sound wears off, there are actually plenty of pleasures to be found, though guilty they may be.  My score: B


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