Review Summary: a somewhat clumsy, but ultimately satisfying circle-jerk of influences
Likes Lions rarely sound like they are their own band. When a band wears its influences so heavily on its sleeve, as Likes Lions do on their debut EP Future Colour, it shouldn't work (and occasionally in this case, it doesn't). But what makes Future Colour worth a listen are just who
influences them: Minus the Bear, Incubus, dredg, American Football. I even detected a post-rock swell or two. Its influences are both its biggest strength and its biggest weakness.
Take opening track Author, Dreamweaver, Visionary
for example. It starts out with a very National-esque drum beat, which quickly leads into a short guitar burst that wouldn't sound out of place on a This Town Needs Guns (or American Football) song, then transitions to a short pop-punk chorus consisting of gang vocals, then during the bridge the vocalist pays homage to Morning View era Incubus, before...well, you get the picture.
The reliance on influences isn't nearly as clumsy on the final track, Badminton
. Starting with an impressive midwest-emo guitar line (there's that American Football influence again), it slowly evolves until it incorporates piano and strings in what ends up being one of the most satisfying closing songs I've heard all year.
If you enjoy any of the bands Likes Lions are influenced by, this is undoubtedly worth a listen. It can be listened to for free on their bandcamp page. Otherwise, just download Badminton.