Living with Lions – Make Your Mark

living-with-lions-make-your-markArtist: Living With Lions
Album: Make Your Mark
Genre: Pop Punk
Album: Black Box Recordings

Every now and then, we get a break out act from America’s hat – Canada. Bands like Silverstein, Simple Plan, Sum 41, and Billy Talent are all fine examples of said breakouts. However, it does seem that it’s been a minute or two since a band from Canada got national recognition stateside, but up and comers Living With Lions are out to change that. Their debut record, Make Your Mark is starting to make it’s mark across the US.

I was instantly grabbed by the lead track, “She’s A Hack” because I noticed almost immediately that Living With Lions had a sound that wasn’t too common currently. Take your favorite pop punk band based on instrumentation and structure and then add your favorite gruff voiced vocalist and you get Living With Lions’ sound. It’s like MxPx meets Against Me! in the alley behind a bar at 2:30 AM and that’s just the impression I took from the first track! The MxPx type of influence seems to continue throughout however with tracks like, “Wrong Place, Right Time,” “Cold Coffee,” and, “Hotel: Part Seven.” I’m not complaining however, because it’s a sound that defines summer.

Outside of seemingly obvious band references, the unique blend of smooth and rough sounds creates a solid atmosphere for the whole record. The band is able to switch up what is rough and clean, or create tracks that lean completely one way. It allows for variety and in this genre, that can be a rarity.

I do have some complaints however and most of them result almost directly from the lyrical side of the record. Granted, this genre of music isn’t the place for profound thoughts or deep emotion, but I feel like a lot of this record just lacks heart. I mean, I’m sure to them and their immediate fan base it means a lot more, but as someone trying to discover a new favorite act, it just doesn’t hit me. Also, I know some will claim that results from age differences, but these guys are closer to my age than most acts in the genre, so I’m not letting that one slide.

I know it may seem this is a very vague review, but that’s kind of how the album is in the long run. It’s a pop punk record with nothing to say and no anthems to distract you from the lack of message. Living With Lions will probably find a fan base here in the states, but Make Your Mark seems destined for the discount rack.

Score: 4/10

James Shotwell
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