Review by Seth Wood
I really enjoy punk music, but I must admit that a lot of it sounds very similar. I think that the sudden resurgence of great punk bands gaining popularity is wonderful, and was definitely needed, since there was no rock genre that people seemed to be getting excited about anymore—but again, I cannot say that anyone out there is really innovating the punk or pop-punk sound.
This is why I jumped at the chance to review I, The Lion’s EP, Run. These guys are certainly aware of what the pop-punk stuff out there is sounding like, but they have found a unique take on the genre. I heard these guys and knew right away they had something that a lot of the contemporary bands I have been getting into did not—an ardent desire to innovate.
The band carries into their music the same grit and raw emotion that all good punk bands do, but they do it in odd time signatures, and with some interesting accent notes, and they are not afraid to mess with the key signature either. Their songs are a bit slower than most other punk stuff, but this allows them to get away with all of their little nuances without totally losing the listener.
Just listening to “Icarus” tells the listener that the guys in this band are very capable musicians. The opening riff is like something one would have heard from a ‘70s rock group, then the band launches into a simple but very energetic punchy riff. After that is my favorite riff on the album, which is the verse. The drummer is throwing in some interesting accents with the snare, and is going totally sporadic in perfectly small doses. The rhythm of the riff is something I don’t believe I have heard before. I believe it to be two measures of six, followed by one of two. Even with all of this complexity, the riff does not lose the listener is the least. It really takes hold of the audience, which makes sudden fall into the chorus even more jarring.
These guys are very good musicians; however, there is still room to grow in their songwriting. The band certainly has some prog-rock influences, yet there are moments in the album when their songs do not seem to progress naturally, and it very deflating for the listener. The most obvious of these instances is three minutes into the opening track. After an energetic screaming part, the band settles into an uplifting interlude, which ends with the singer holding a note over thumping instrumentation. It seems like the band is about to launch into something that is going to send the song over the edge in exuberance, like the next thing you are about to hear could very possibly make your viscera totally explode, but—oh no. Instead, you get a very pallid almost-pop riff that does not really carry any emotion. My interest in the song ended here. Still, you have to admire the potential that the band shows in just being able to create that moment of suspension in a song, where the listener goes “oh man, here comes something amazing.”
I think this is a really nice EP that stands on its own. So many others seem like they ended too soon and left me totally unfulfilled, but with that said, I really cannot wait to hear what a full album from I, The Lion might sound like.
Listen to "Icarus"