The Lion Faced Boy

Suspended Disbelief

Written by: TL on 15/03/2013 17:32:18

I don't know about you guys, but my first encounter with "Suspended Disbelief", an EP from little known Florida trio The Lion Faced Boy, didn't quite give me the feeling of encouragement I was hoping for. Between the band's name, the sharp, hyper-active vocal delivery from frontman Rob Scanlon and the quick facebook tag line "By the unpopular, for the unpopular. #TLFB It's Movement. It's A Lifestyle." I just initially got the feeling that this was the band whose immediate future promised a turn towards the overly poppy and teenage friendly.

Fortunately however, it takes but a few listens to unearth the band's influences and realise that their ambition is far more likely to be one of making pop-punk for conneiseurs. Their self-confessed admiration for Say Anything becomes evident in the way Scanlon hisses and spits his vocals with flamboyant theatricality, even if his voice does sound a good bit thinner and more youthful than Max Bemis does. In fact, I'd call his sound a cross between Bemis and Nic Newsham (of Gatsby's American Dream) - Just check out EP opener "1993", which should hit you the moment Scanlon's vocals slide up from their subtle beginnings to a rather explosive mid-section.

Now, the main drawback on "Suspended Disbelief" I think is that instrumentally, it sounds a bit flat. Not that there aren't a load of instrumental flourishes spread around to suggest the band's respect for some good goddamn contemporaries, it just feels like it Scanlon's voice is relied upon too often to take centre stage and provide the hooks and melodies. That being said however, those melodies are not half bad, and when you combine them with the little treasure hunt you can have, discovering said influences hiding in The Lion Faced Boy's sound, you have yourself a pretty replayable little EP here.

Take the familiar Bayside/Alkaline Trio-ish melodies of "Cripples, Bastards, And Broken Things" and you just tell me they don't work a smirk onto your face - especially when Scanlon's second verse becomes almost Seahaven-ish. Take the oddly nervous, yet devilishly catchy chorus of "I Used To Be Like You (Judas)", which works like a cross between Say Anything and Sparks The Rescue. Or take the unpredictable tempo changes of "Sam Is..." - Honestly I'm not sure how to put references on those, but along with the other moments I've mentioned, they make "Suspended Disbelief" much more than just an attempt at a 'simple' pop-punk record, and for that, I say it deserves healthy measures of commendation. Even if the slightly shaky confidence, the production values and the occasional inconsistencies in songwriting anchor it safely in the realm of the "almost, but not quite there yet".

Download: I Used To Be Like You (Judas); Cripples, Bastards And Broken Things, 1993
For The Fans Of: Say Anything, Sparks The Rescue, Bright & Early, Forgive Durden, Gatsby's American Dream

Release Date 06.11.2012
Pacific Ridge

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