The Lions Rampant | The Lions Rampant Play Rock N Roll (s/r)

lionsrampant.jpgThe band’s sophistication rears its head with a power soul feeling that belonged to the scene 40 years ago and is renewed in unique and just straightforward rock.

 

 

 

 

 

The title of the EP, in its simplicity, says it all and the band delivers the promise made. The Lions Rampant play rock ‘n’ roll and dammit, do they ever. A garage-y, back-to-its-roots sound emanates from the very first guitar riffs of "70-30" to the fadeout of the final track "Need a Man?" and there is no compromise in between. It doesn’t end at the Mudhoney-esque guitar tracks or grit-flavored recording, though, as the band’s sophistication rears its head with a power soul feeling that belonged to the scene 40 years ago and is renewed in unique and just straightforward rock.

The opening track "70-30" introduces us to frontman Stuart Mackenzie’s early Iggy Pop-style vocals that meld into the contradiction of a melodic chaos. This is followed with the infectious "Let Us In! (Come On)" that takes the rocking to the next level and puts the listener right into the garage with the band. The bounciness of "Cryin’ All the Time" is the cut with the hook-filled stop-and-go rhythm of "Skin ‘n’ Bones" which recalls a semblance of New Zealand band The 3Ds. The attitude of "Shotgun Shells" with the declaration "I do what I want, baby, you do what you please" leads to the contrast of "Need a Man?" in which Mackenzie changes roles from being in control of a relationship to pleading with an indecisive love interest, and is answered with the powerful voice of guest vocalist Amy Jo.

Paul Bunyan on bass harmonizes well with Mackenzie by providing background vocals while Alex Brauer gives the music its heartbeat on drums. Together, the three are an example of what an unbelievably full and complete sound a three-piece is capable of putting out. It’s a sound that, while categorized as garage rock, succeeds in taking the overall feel up a few levels by tightening the rhythm while leaving in the roughness and fuzzy, raw energy of an honest-to-goodness garage band. Each member of the band lives in the music they create, together and it’s quite obvious that when playing rock ‘n’ roll, The Lions Rampant are well within their element. A | Jason Neubauer

RIYL: Mudhoney, The Mooney Suzuki, The Cynics

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