With a creative roar to their music to match the suggestiveness of their name, UK rock band I, The Lion have earned the reputation for not only being one of the hardest working live bands around right now but for creating tracks which increasingly captivate attention. The Cheltenham trio are doing it again with the release of new EP Run, a four-track stomp which pleases on the first listen and continues to impress from thereon in. Tagged as post punk but with a sound more like a raw breed of alternative rock, with a healthy edge and whisper of Reuben to it, band and new release come flushed with potential and a fiery enterprise showing why the strong buzz around the band.
Formed in 2011, I, The Lion as mentioned have made a potent mark on the British rock live scene, undertaking numerous tours and sharing stages with the likes of Gallows, DZ Deathrays, Three Trapped Tigers, Talons, and Emp!re amongst many. Through releases too the band has made a steadily increasing mark, their first single released barely a month after the band emerged, stirring up over a thousand downloads whilst debut EP Tides and Tales emulated and surpassed its success soon after. Now the band is unleashing the Run EP, a proposition recorded with Jason Wilson (You Me At Six, Reuben, Fightstar) at Stakeout Studios in London. I, The Lion have already sparked up potent anticipation for its unveiling through lead single Hold Strong, a track debuted it at the 2000 Trees Festival where they it gave out for free, all of its copies going in under 30 seconds after their successful performance.
With song lyrics built around a central theme “of trying to get away and create something new and real”, as marked by the EP’s title, the encounter opens with that recent single. Hold Strong swiftly lures in ears and focus through its laid back but jabbing rhythmic opening, increasing the bait as the almost dirty riffs of Elliot Withers add to the broadening shadowed scenery of the song. Vocalist Chris Evans brings his strong tones to the emerging narrative of the song next, as well as a great dark bassline which sparks another twinge of appetite for the already intriguing encounter. Harmonies across the band spread additional spice but cannot help the song find the spark it needs which leaves it a little flat initially. This is resolved once an unexpected lull triggers a new invention in the song though, vocals and melodies a melancholic yet vibrant lure leading to a raging enterprise of aggression and tenacity. From here on in the swinging rhythms of drummer Nathan Priday are virulently contagious as is the delicious hook which repeats with insatiable strength across the remainder of the EPs excellent start.
Not to be outdone, the following Icarus reveals its own addictive lure from its first breath, the hook inescapable bait setting up ears and imagination perfectly for the feisty endeavour of the song. That opening temptation expands its call with a more flouncy enterprise but without losing its potency as a grizzly bassline and expressive vocals joins its magnetic persuasion. Never really relaxing or exploding, though it too offers a tantalising respite mid-way, the song makes a good first impression but simply grows in weight and success with subsequent listens, that Reuben essence mentioned earlier a definite plus.
Man Made of Mice strolls along with a pop punk melodic colouring to its sturdy and imposing stride, bass and guitar aligning for a reserved but voracious proposal within the muscular frame of Priday’s rhythms and the straight talking vocals. Flushed with another infectious groove, the track again is one which maybe does not erupt as it hints at but leaves ears and appetite seriously contented before Bonny Island brings it all to a heftily satisfying close. As with all the songs, its first touch is a decisive and persuasive tempting, riffs and ragged hooks courting a dramatic rhythmic coaxing which immediately holds attention and intrigue. Arguably again the band let the potency of the start slip slightly but are soon building a commanding and fascinating web of sonic and rhythmic adventure with unpredictable and melodically soaked twists.
Bottom-line is, Run is a thoroughly enjoyable and persistently enticing encounter from a band with the potential to light up the British rock scene like a Reuben or Biffy Clyro.
Run is available from February 9th @ http://ithelion.bandcamp.com/
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