There Came A Lion



by Nathaniel Fritz USER (17 Reviews)
February 9th, 2008 | 32 replies

Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: They're only chasing safety...

Like most other bands that want to pretend that a 14-year-old suburban kid actually cares about how they derived their sound, new Texas pop-punk band Ivoryline has a list of bands on their MySpace that purportedly have had a great influence on them. There are some artists on this list – Jimmy Eat World, U2, Refused – that actually make some sense; the remainder is either a joke I am too sleep-deprived to pick up on or laughable hyperbole. The Mars Volta? Daft Punk? Converge? Really? Now I think we can all agree those are laudable influences, but c'mon guys, let's be honest: the answer we're looking for here is actually, “Pretty much every popular pop-punk or melodic rock band of the last ten years.”

That’s right; if originality is the name of the game here, well, then you’ll probably want to bypass this disc, bucko. There Came A Lion almost literally brings nothing new to the table and there are bands that do Ivoryline’s sort of thing a bit better. But the catch is…well, the hooks; the hooks are catchy. And multiple times throughout the disc, Ivoryline is able to string together several of these catchy hooks in succession in a span of about three-and-a-half minutes; this is also what is known as a “good song.” There Came A Lion is so safe and controlled that it’s impossible to know if the band actually has a promising future or not. But if the point of the disc was to not embarrass themselves or to get kids saying “Well…that’s just fine” during their twenty-minute opening slot for Armor for Sleep, well, then Ivoryline has succeeded here.

The strength of the band unquestionably are the vocals of Jeremy Gray, who is one of the most polished young vocalists to come out in a while. At times sounding like a dead ringer for Saosin’s Cove Reber, at others Anberlin’s Stephen Christian, Gray is able to consistently deliver a high register with passion and intensity. Granted, this high note is the only note he really sings on the record, but, by God, is he good at it. The thing is, it’s sort of a blessing and curse on this record, as someone, somewhere – whether it be a desperate Tooth & Nail label eager to find a flagship band to replace Anberlin and Mae or some other lazy fiend – figured out that an album built solely to showcase Gray’s vocals couldn’t fail. Furthermore, any attempts to branch out and experiment with said formula would be risky and potentially unwise!

This is why it’s tough to figure out if Ivoryline has any real staying power. Is the band backing Gray just an assemblage of competent yet mediocre hacks or are they just not real motivated here? Is Gray himself only capable of hitting one note? Could he perhaps do better lyrically than sing ”Liars outside your window-oh-oh, doh-oh-oh” at the end of “All You Ever Hear”? It seems we’ll have to wait for album #2 to figure out these pressing questions. At any rate, what ends up happening to There Came A Lion is a sound resembling a less technical Saosin or a male-fronted Paramore or a less metrosexual Acceptance or a 30 Seconds to Mars led by a vocalist who could actually hit all the notes he tried to reach or a…well, the list goes on. Bottom line: Ivoryline is mighty formulaic and as much as they’d like you to believe that their inspiration comes directly from Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, there’s just a little bit of evidence that suggests that's not the case.

However, within the confines of their formula, Ivoryline navigates things pretty well. There are no legitimately bad songs on There Came A Lion and there are a few tracks such as “Bravery” and “All You Ever Hear” that suggest the band is fully capable of challenging heavyweights of the genre such as Fall Out Boy and Paramore. ”Our complacency won’t last much longer,” sings Gray on album opener “Days End.” Let’s certainly hope so.

Recommended Tracks:


All You Ever Hear


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Comments:Add a Comment 
February 9th 2008


Album Rating: 2.5

This review is basically a long-winded way of saying: "Take your rating for Saosin's self-titled album, subtract .5 points, and that's how much you'll like Ivoryline."

February 9th 2008


I always like reading your reviews. Good job there, tiger!

February 9th 2008


Atrocious album.

February 9th 2008


Album Rating: 2.5

Actually, no.

February 9th 2008


Not so sure about the band but I REALLY like the album cover for some reason

February 9th 2008


Album Rating: 2.5

nice review =). I fully agree with you there, it's an ok album. I do think that they have potential for their future. so ::Shrugs::

Digging: From Indian Lakes - Everything Feels Better Now

February 9th 2008


Their myspace was really bad.

February 9th 2008


I was thinking of giving this a try...I guess I'll spend my money on something thats actually worth it instead.
Good review.

February 19th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

Listening to this album I thought to myself "man this singer sure sounds like a mix of Stephen Christian and Cove Reber." I guess I'm not the only one, hah. Really good review. Keep it up man.

March 6th 2008


Album Rating: 2.5

So I just figured out that I completely goofed on two songs (calling them by the wrong title and such) and that the actual track listing for this is different than the one I downloaded. Jeez, if you can't trust advance copy torrents, who can you trust?

December 5th 2008


Album Rating: 3.5

It's a good review as far as being a fun read, but you don't describe any of the band's songs or their sound. You go the simple, and (dare i say?) lazy route, of only describing their similarities to other groups. Not that that's bad, but you need both similarities AND descriptions. Even derivative bands like this have a little individuality in their sound.

Also, it seems a little disjointed. If Gray is supposedly "only capable of hitting one note" on this album, then how is he also one of the best vocalists to come out in a while and, as you seem to say, the only real strength on the album? And if Gray is in fact the only strength the band really has, then how do you get off saying that they are "fully capable of challenging heavyweights of the genre such as Fall Out Boy and Paramore?"

December 6th 2008


Album Rating: 2.5

I like to write concise reviews that are easy to read and give you a basic sense of whether a band is worth listening to or not. As a result, my reviews are not as detailed as some others on the site, but I'm trying more to intrigue you enough into listening to the music yourself and making up your own mind about it than give you a complete play-by-play. If you would like to write a more detailed review for this album, by all means do so.

Also, you're misreading the "one note" thing so consequently your second argument isn't really valid.

Also, this album is kinda poopty, but "Bravery" is still such a fucking good song.This Message Edited On 12.06.08

December 6th 2008


Even derivative bands like this have a little individuality in their sound.

Not necessarily. I'm guessing this review sums up the album pretty well when it says "every pop punk band you've ever heard". Your other concerns with his review aren't problems when you read the review carefully, imo. (I gotta back up a good reviewer, man. haha)
[quote=review]a 30 Seconds to Mars led by a vocalist who could actually hit all the notes he tried to reach[/quote]
??? Jared Leto is a good singer. Yeah, his band went from 'fairly good' to medicore, but still....

December 6th 2008


Album Rating: 2.5

I don't know, he's always sorta annoyed me, can't really explain why.

January 13th 2009


Album Rating: 3.5

Well obviously the whole "hitting only one note" thing was just a clever play on words. All i'm saying is that it seems a little strange to say that, and then also say he is the band's strength.

And yeah this is a good review. It's just that the style is more "witty, shallow, newspaper-column review" than a description of what the band actually sounds like (which is what would induce people to either buy or not buy the record). But i guess it's more of a personal preference. It's a fun read though.

February 18th 2009


Album Rating: 4.0

Really good review roofi. I agree with pretty much all of your points. I guess I'm just more of a sucker for these kind of tunes than most.

July 22nd 2009


Album Rating: 3.0

ordered the cd some days ago, lets see, I liked days end so I decided to buy it^^

August 7th 2009


Album Rating: 4.0

^If you like days end then you'll definitely enjoy the rest of the album. "We Both Know" isn't the greatest but other than that this record is consistently good all the way through.

January 28th 2010


We Both Know is a decent song, but that's it.

Digging: ABC - The Lexicon of Love

May 7th 2010


Album Rating: 2.0

This really sucks. They're trying WAY too hard to be anberlin and failing.

"a 30 Seconds to Mars led by a vocalist who could actually hit all the notes he tried to reach"


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