Living With Lions

Holy Shit

Written by: PP on 10/06/2011 03:33:28

The best part about plowing through dozens of releases on a weekly basis as a part of this job is that about once or twice a year you strike gold and find a record that will define the year for you that you might not have otherwise found. A record, which you'll remember five years down the line and remember exactly what you were doing during those several months you spent scrutinizing and analysing the record down to its smallest detail. An album, which has such a powerful impact on you that it makes you stop in your tracks and question exactly how the band came up with a melody that strong, that hair-raising, that memorable, and that thick in raw, unadulterated emotion connection to its listener. That honor in 2011 goes to Living With Lions and their masterpiece of a sophomore album "Holy Shit", which joins the hall-of-fame collection of such life-changing records for this scribe as Attack In Black's "Marriage" and Polar Bear Club's "Sometimes Things Just Disappear".

Like most seminal records which have lasting value well beyond the current year, "Holy Shit" is also one with an incredible level of depth that will only begin to uncover itself after seven or eight full-time active listens. Initially, the listener will notice the sublime vocal hooks scattered across the album during introspective verses or soaring choruses, but those are only the superficial layers that barely scratch the surface of what this album is all about. Only prolonged repeat listening sessions will start unearthing the tormented dynamics between the band and the audience, manifesting both in terms of angular and quirky guitar riffs, quick tempo switches between manic melodic hardcore in the vein of Lifetime or Daggermouth and intricate, layered riffs that will inevitably draw your mind towards Polar Bear Club. You'll start to recognize how the specifically candid and wonderfully intelligent lyricism only adds to the power of emotion this record has on its listener, whether it's through a simple gravelly shout "THIS IS A HEARTFELT FUCK YOU" that opens "In Your Light" or a melodic gang chorus of "Maple Drive Is Still Alive".

And you know what else? The record is maddeningly catchy, but not at all in the sugar-coated pop chorus kind of way. It's the kind of record that glues itself to your mind through much more intelligent and subtle means, such as brilliant riff-to-vocals interplay, a great bridge between a solid verse and a big chorus, a few lines of unforgettable lyrics that you can connect to, or just an unusual way of presenting two very different genres in juxtaposition of one another. For example, there are many places on the record where Living With Lions seamlessly transition between Lifetime style melodic hardcore to the emotionally tormented and textured delivery of Polar Bear Club, with a little bit of A Day To Remember style pop punk/metalcore hybrid sound in between. And they do this without sounding an inch trendy, poppy or like their hearts wouldn't be in it one hundred percent. Together with the intelligence of their songwriting and lyricism, it is this overwhelming honesty and a convincingly genuine sound what makes "Holy Shit" such an amazing record. But be advised: a couple of listens isn't enough for the album to reveal itself in its full glory.


Download: Maple Drive Is Still Alive, In Your Light, Whatever You Want, Regret Song
For the fans of: Polar Bear Club, A Day To Remember, Daggermouth
Listen: Myspace

Release date 17.05.2011
Adeline Records

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