Living With Lions – Holy Shit – Review

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I was formally introduced to the Vancouver pop-punk band Living With Lions when they released their freshman full-length, “Make Your Mark,” in 2008 through Adeline Records. My enjoyment of the record centered around the band’s uncommon melodic riffs  and energetic punk. Since its release however, the band split ties with lead vocalist Matt Postal and bassist Shayne Lundberg, subbing in Stuart Ross (Misery Signals, Lowtalker) and Bill Crook (A Textbook Tragedy) respectively. The change doesn’t seem to have put a stop to the bands fun-loving and cheeky attitudes though, as we see with their sophomore album, bashfully titled “Holy Shit.

The first thing you will notice about “Holy Shit,” besides the hilarious poo-implanted biblical album and inlay art, is the similarities in Stuart’s and Matt’s vocals. Both prefer to belt out rough shouts for their verses and then harmonize a softer singing voice for their catchy choruses. Stuart shouting, “This is a heart-felt fuck you!” to start “In Your Light,” and the surely-drunken diatribe of “Just shut the fuck up, you’re just a kid” from “When We Were Young” solidifies the comparison — as Living With Lions has aways had that “take-no-shit” attitude and style of writing — even with someone new contributing and Stuart’s vocals being a tad more rustic. With the usual addition of Chase’s backing vocals to the mix, the new vocal scheme has created a much more melody-conscience effort. Which is the next noticeable attribute. Where “Make Your Mark” focused on making complex, charged-up, punk, “Holy Shit” has (for the most part) chosen the more poppy, melodic route, which you can hear in the bands first single/video “Honesty, Honestly” — a song that has sugar-sweet layer guitar riffs and bumping basslines that seemingly mixes Four Year Strong and Transit.

Songs like “Maple Drive Is Still Alive” and “Mathew’s Anthem“ get the mainstream punk treatment, leading to faster paced tracks, busy with percussion, but it also makes the effort feel more radio friendly than its album counterparts by leaning too heavily on connect-the-dot riffs. Other than a few nit-picks though, the different direction Living With Lions has chosen makes for a charming cohesion of melodic and poppy punk. Some purists might see it as a double edged sword, sacrificing a garish genuine exterior that punk is known for — in exchange for a few more catchy tracks — but “Holy Shit” keeps its punk roots visible while rounding a few jagged edges. An addictive bunch of energetic punk songs at the very least, and a new horizon for Living With Lions’ fans to enjoy, at its very best. [Staff]

Score: 3.5 (out of 5)

Release Date: May 17th, 2011
Record Label: Adeline Records
Genre: Punk

RIYL: Daggermouth, Transit, Fireworks

Track Listing:
1. Pieces
2. Regret Song
3. In Your Light
4. Honesty, Honestly
5. Whatever You Want
6. Maple Drive Is Still Alive
7. Wake Up
8. Matthew’s Anthem
9. Rough Around The Edges
10. When We Were Young

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