Living With Lions

Island

Written by: PP on 07/01/2019 17:34:01

Eight years ago, Living With Lions released one of the best records in that year, "Holy Shit". It was a depth-laden, intricate record that balanced melodic hardcore, emo, and pop punk together in seamless fashion. Since then, vocalist Stu Ross, who was already their second frontman, departed to play guitar in Comeback Kid, and we didn't hear much to the band aside from a brief three-track EP "Some Of My Friends Appear Dead To Me" in 2013, where guitarist Chase Brenneman took over vocal duties as the third singer in their history. So how do they sound like on their third full-length "Island"?

For starters, we're in for yet another stylistic change. Gone are the layered guitars and tempo changes that added so much depth to "Holy Shit". Instead, the band opts for breakneck speed pop punk of the textbook summer variety. They have a couple of nice melodies and hooks lined up: "Second Narrows" is a lightning-fast punk rock piece, "Tidal Wave" is as summer pop punk as summer pop punk songs come, and "On A Rope" has a few interesting riffs complementing its high tempo. But unfortunately there aren't enough of them to last for an entire album, and most songs don't do enough to stand out from the saturated pop punk pack. You'd be forgiven for mistaking them for Like Pacific or The Story So Far in some places, for instance.

The biggest reason why is, regrettably, the revolving door of the vocals department. Chase Brennemann does a decent job but has neither the distinct charisma nor knack for long-lasting melodies that Stu Ross had, nor the delivery of original vocalist Matt postal. As a result, the depth-laden harmonies that made "Holy Shit" so good are nowhere to be found, resulting in a dime-a-dozen pop punk release that's merely decent. It's better than, say, the Like Pacific release but not exactly something you'll remember a few years down the line from now. It doesn't do enough to either distinguish itself from similar-sounding bands nor pack enough strong, catchy melodies to warrant not addressing that aspect at all.

It's a shame because they were onto something special with "Holy Shit". "Island", on the other hand, is your standard fare pop punk release with a couple of catchy hooks and choruses here and there, but not much else.

Download: Second Narrows, Tidal Wave, On A Rope
For the fans of: The Story So Far, Like Pacific, State Champs
Listen: Facebook

Release date 21.09.2018
No Sleep Records

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