These new jungle cats are ready to pounce.

Flying Tigers 

These new jungle cats are ready to pounce.

If you happen to run into Kenn Jankowski on the street during the next few weeks, try to give the guy a break. He's not arrogant; in fact, he's usually a very well-mannered young man.

It's just that the lead guitarist and keyboardist for the Golden Republic has a new love: his latest project, the Republic Tigers. Listening to him describe it, he sounds more like a cocky fifth-grader who just won his first game of tackle football than a musician who's already enjoyed a good deal of success with his previous band.

"We had our first all-six-member practice last night, and I gotta say, if I was worried before, I'm not worried at all now," Jankowski says. "I'm worried for all the other bands in the world, honestly." At times, it's hard to tell if he's serious.

Jankowski has plenty of reason to brag, even if he is being facetious. Whereas the vintage guitar pop he helped create with the Golden Republic got the band signed to New York label Astralwerks, the Tigers are starting fresh, mixing subtle electronica cues with deeper, more entrancing song structures.

It's a brand-new path for Jankowski, but if the handful of tracks the band has already recorded is any indication, it's a step in the right direction. The only concern is how so much instrumentation and so many different voices (each of the six members sings backup, and on at least one song, an accordion and a looping laptop battle for equal time) will play in a live setting.

Not a problem, Jankowski says.

"I just realized last night how well it's going to translate live," he explains. Jankowski and his partners have already worked up stage-friendly versions of their songs.

"I'm starting to think that you might be able to compare it to Sleepy Jackson, in how they are different with their records and live show," he says.

To say that Jankowski puts a lot of thought into this project would be an understatement. In fact, he's almost clinical in his analysis, from planning the number of songs the band will write before hitting the studio (20) to the regimented practice schedule he says he's notorious for keeping. Even the Tigers' music has a tight, mathematical feel to it.

"I do pay very close attention to the small details. However, that's how I was born ... extreme perfectionism," he says. "But over the years, playing with the Golden Republic, I've learned how to tame that and let soul take more control.

The fact that he's worked out the math on how much soul his new band should have might be a sign that he's still analyzing a little too much. But it's the music, with its vast — albeit orderly — soundscape, that tells the real story.

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