Review Summary: Pop-Punk with facial hair.
Living With Lions are a Canadian pop-punk band hailing from Vancouver, BC. They have maintained a slow but steady incline in popularity since the release of their first EP “Dude Manor” back in 2007. The band released their first full length just a year later entitled “Make Your Mark” and although it never received much widespread attention, the critical praise and small yet devoted fan base was there. The group went on to be shaken up in the form of several line up changes preceding the two releases, Shayne Lundberg was replaced by Bill Crook of ‘A Textbook Tragedy’ on bass, and Matt Postal was replaced by Stuart Ross of ‘Misery Signals’ on vocals. Possibly due to these changes, the bands sophomore release took three years to hit shelves. Nevertheless “Holy ***” is here and showing few signs of any sophomore slump that might have occurred.
A change in vocalists is always hit or miss in the music world, a lot of time the singer is the one who defines a band’s sound and once they leave, the sound leaves with them but when “Honesty, Honestly” (the albums first single) dropped, fans breathed a sigh of relief knowing that Stu would fit the mould perfectly. Stu’s delivery in no way mimics the old vocals but instead brings something new to the table without changing too drastically.
“Pieces” kicks off the album with a nostalgic and hopeful guitar section. From there, the song punches through melodic guitar sections and heartfelt vocal delivery, a perfect introduction of the bands new vocalist to the music world. “Regret Song” chronicles a past relationship that we have probably all experienced at some point in our lives.
I built you up so high your head was in the clouds, too bad you didn’t look down
“Maple Drive Is Still Alive” gives us a mid-tempo jam that changes things up a little bit. The ballad like guitar chords and lyrics would make a good graduation song if it weren’t for the ever present, frantic drumming. This is in no way a bad thing as it helps the song stand out on it’s own instead of another pop-punk ballad. The song concludes with one of the best gang vocal choruses I have ever heard, pretty much guaranteeing the listeners hair to stand on end. “Matthew’s Anthem” is held together by strong backbeats and flourishes instrumentally, leading us with powerful vocal lines into a melody-laden chorus. Despite the immature album title, “Holy ***” is probably the bands most balanced and mature release yet. The album is not without it’s flaws, the vocals get dull and un-inspired in certain places and the drumming get’s slightly repetitive, however there is still enough energy remaining to keep the listener interested until the very end.
With their sophomore release, Living With Lions are by no means reinvented the genre nor do they claim to be. The band is making heartfelt and emotional tunes that are fun to listen to despite the fact that it may get a little repetitive at times.