Dawn has come and you still haven’t been kissed. You’re wrapped in someone’s words but want to be wrapped in their arms. Whatever happens it’s worth the wait.
“Tiger Lily” is one of the very best examples of the fantastic results of Science & Nature’s expansion of the band’s sound and range. Its tale of repeated, lengthy 4am phone calls from the title character is at heart a little slight. Given a more typical treatment it could easily have slipped into the ‘fun but inessential’ column, although it does contain the most fantastically bitchy throwaway line of their whole career (‘Take a look at your peers/Stretching out all their half-arsed ideas/Into half-arsed careers’, where the ‘your’ is surely ‘our’!).
The jazzy, double bass shuffle that underpins the whole song instead gives it a buzzing nervous energy, furtively looking for an escape route the whole time while resignedly pretending to listen to insults and irrelevancies. The biggest wonder, though, is the instrumental flight of fancy that divides the song in two. As the previously almost unnoticeable organ hum of the mundane slowly fades away, the newly bare and cavernous bass is like a reminder of how things are always a bit stranger in the dark, half awake world. It’s joined by spaced out (in both senses) guitar licks and then overtaken by a brisk harpsichord that takes us to a whole different place than unremembered, dutiful phone calls before being abruptly snapped back to reality with a conclusive, echoing crash.
It’s difficult to reconcile the two, but the inlay song-key (see top of this entry and here, does suggest that magical diversion and the wistful sigh of ‘love can change, maybe today’ that drifts over the end of each section do hint that there is some hidden devotion there too. There must be a reason to keep picking up the phone.