The Lion And The Wolf

Songs For The Drunk And Downhearted

Written by: DR on 23/11/2010 21:32:04

The Lion & The Wolf is the musical alias of Thomas George, a Southampton based singer/songwriter. I know what you're thinking: "is his name a Thrice reference!? Who knows? But, it could be, because George draws influence from the American alternative scene, citing such acts as Manchester Orchestra, Kevin Devine, Brand New and, although he doesn't list him, he's clearly spent some time listening to Bon Iver and City And Colour, too.

What separates vocalists like Andy Hull (Manchester Orchestra) and Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) apart from the rest isn't necessarily their guitar-playing skills or vocal ability, it's the fact that out of each word they sing, they sell every one of them to you, oozing raw emotion in the process; the lyrics they write are so personal and heartfelt - and they suck you into it completely.

This, however, is merely a fairly typical acoustic-based singer/songwriter offering. "TLATW is an explosive, heartfelt and genuine assault from the simplistic approach of just a voice and a guitar." This quote from his bio sums up what he's all about fairly well. He's not 'there' where he's aiming to be yet - he's not even that close - but he comes across as though he's really striving to be, without putting too much of himself in the mix.

In the opening song "A Song For The Drunk And Downhearted" he whispers "believe, in the words that i speak", which is ironic, because you won't: the words he's speaking are so caked in Bon Iver-ambience it lacks any trace of sincerity. The theme of not believing what he's saying continues right until the end. George is eager to portray metaphors of his relationships he's concocted, such as being a ship and sailing away from a relationship, he and his ex, the only heroes in town, being pulled apart by the town that needs them, and then there's the lyrically blurred "I, The Warhorse" - my impression is the speaker wants a sign from the Lord, gets one, but then chooses the path of the Devil instead? Those metaphors simply come across as contrvied, deliberate and lacking any showing of George's actual emotions, thoughts or feelings.

Underneath the vocals, however, everything is good - spot on, actually. For a home-recording, the production value is really, really excellent, plus George definitely knows his way around his instruments. In this respect, the highlights are "I, The Warhorse" with its heavily folk flavour, and "The Lion And The Wolf" - the arrangements in which could possibly be inspired by the soundtrack to "Amelie".

As I say, musically it's excellent, and others, people that aren't me, might find his vocals/lyrics to be alright, perhaps even enjoyable. I don't care that he has a poor range and isn't particularly harmonic, and I certainly don't mean to imply that he isn't sincere in what he writes, either; to me, it just sounds as though he's going through the motions of singing, never showing real passion, lacking in a strong, true, personal connection with what he has written. Maybe he does have one, he should show it.


Download: The Lion And The Wolf
For The Fans of: Bon Iver; Right Away, Great Captain!; Kevin Devine
Listen: Bandcamp

Release Date 20.05.2010

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