UK alternative rock band Follow the Lion has a sound which immediately feels so right on ears whilst offering something seemingly already familiar. The latter aspect though is deceptive and arises primarily from the fact that once infected by the band’s new EP, there is very little likely you will be putting it aside just as a passing fascination. Our experience is that the band and release becomes a heavily devoured incitement from first contact, becoming an old friend in no time at all and casting that suggestion of being something recognisable simply from constant play. Bottom-line though is that consisting of three provocatively bewitching tracks, the EP is a compelling and highly seductive slice of emotionally and skilfully tenacious rock ‘n’ roll from a band surely destined for big things.
Follow The Lion began in 2013 taking diverse influences from the likes of Pixies, Massive Attack, The Beatles, Nirvana, Tricky, and King Crimson into their emerging invention and sound. The Leeds band was soon lighting up the local live scene, subsequently venues across the north west of England, and this summer festivals like Live at Leeds and Long Division. Now the Steve Whitfield (The Cure, Bill Bruford) produced and Celt Islam mastered The Candy and Gravity Motel EP is poised to work on ears and appetites nationwide and from our findings there is little chance of escaping its or band’s lure.
The release opens with its title track, making a gentle entrance through a sparkling weave of guitar and keys within which a firm rhythmic coaxing from bassist Mase and drummer Danny Jay Barnett steps forward. It does not take long for a whisper of Black to nudge thoughts whilst the sonic shimmer of the track carries hints of bands like Bernaccia and Soundgarden. They are mere essences though, the song as it further opens up its contagious theatre of melodies and smouldering sonic temptation, evolving into a unique and sultry serenade but one with a snarl to its emotions and unstoppable virulence to its character. As rhythms get bolder and the sonic enterprise spicier, the glorious roar is a blaze of temptation and enthralment merging various strains of rock and creative expression.
Down By The River comes next and within its first breath offers a catchy welcoming of riffs with a low key jangle. It is swiftly in control of ears and attention, especially once the initially reserved beats link up with a brooding bassline. They spark a fiery embrace of guitar which in turn elevates the energy and vivacity of those rhythms. It is a captivating start given fresh energy and magnetism by the distinct tones of Daniel Francis, his voice expressive and evocative with potent variety to his delivery. His own guitar prowess provides a firm and enticing canvas for the rich and colourful enterprise of lead guitarist Richard Swann to further spark an already gripped imagination, his spicy tendrils captivating within the flowing caresses of Paul Smith’s keys and the darker rhythmic frame. The song is irresistible, feisty and infectious but with a thick weave of emotive drama to leave no stone unturned in thrilling the listener.
The voice of Francis, superbly backed by Smith, is like the music around it, a perpetual source of riveting incitement. He never bellows and forces the strong lyrical side of the songs upon the senses, yet seduces and provocatively roars with undiluted persuasion across every song, as shown by Low. Carrying a definite eighties air to its melodic and catchy stroll, like Colin Vearncombe meets Spandau Ballet in many ways, the closing song washes over the senses with poetic radiance though again there is a raw and dark edge to it which adds to the fullness and weight of the enthralling encounter.
There have already been many good things said about Follow The Lion and their debut EP, from Tom Robinson for one, and now lost in the arms of the spellbinding release it is easy to see why and say you too should make a reservation with The Candy and Gravity Motel.
The Candy and Gravity Motel is available from June 29th @ http://followthelion.bandcamp.com/album/the-candy-gravity-motel-ep