Mahjongg's lead vocalist, Hunter Husar, was once quoted as saying, "When you're in your early 20s, you want to take on the world and take over a city." The Chicago band appears to have been successful in achieving their objective, which they continue to cement on their third LP, The Long Shadow of the Paper Tiger. Honing their own particular brand of hybridized post-punk dance music and dub-electronic to a near-OCD level, Mahjongg's tone on their latest disc is intricately planned, genre-splicing, and dance hall-ready.
True to form, Paper Tiger doesn't waste a moment in moving through seven mixed and remixed tracks that feature a rotating, yet talented, cast of guest musicians and friends, including Mbulu, Suddenly Susan, and Jeanine O'Toole. In fact, one of Paper Tiger's finest qualities is its ability to include a diverse list of contributors who provide just the right formula of loops, dub beats, and samples to the album without making it seem bloated. Kicking off with the messy-sounding, yet finely tuned "Gobble," Mahjongg manages to stuff at least five different styles into one track, roughly pairing Husar's gritty, frayed vocals with a satisfyingly urgent ruckus of guitar and blooping electronics. Other standout tracks include the electro-heavy "La Beat," the synth-laced "Miami Knights," and the considerably groovier "Devry." In short, each cut on Paper Tiger seethes with energy, boasts complex, layered production, and a unique manner of delivery. But would you expect anything else from Mahjongg?