Living With Lions – Holy Shit
Record Label: Adeline Records
Release Date: May 17, 2011
I suppose there are some people who crave stability (accountants, social studies teachers) – people who just want to know what every day will bring. We typically think of these people as being older, established, etc. And that’s fine for them, but is there not validity to a life spent randomly? It may not be the best lifestyle when it comes to raising a family or becoming a millionaire (unless you are Richard Branson). But there is a certain fun in the uneasiness. There is definitely adventure – and I think that’s what makes for the best, most meaningful pop-punk albums. Since most of the bands are young-ish, their's are tales of surprise and uncertainty. And I don’t mean surprise in that, whoa, he’s in outer space sort of way. I mean surprise in that, whoa, I didn’t see my life going this way at this point sort of way.
Holy Shit is absolutely a tale told in flux. And new vocalist Stu Ross (though not the main lyrical force behind the album) is quite the narrator. His gruff vocals begin the album’s inward-leaning themes of, “What next?!” with the lines, “I’m broken again / Shattered by consequence!” And yeah, Einstein, if you weren’t prepared for some youthful morose, then there’s something wrong with you and not Living With Lions. But a bunch of two-minute songs about broken hearts and shattered bottles wouldn’t justify that score over there you no doubt have already eyeballed. What makes Holy Shit different (hey, different enough) is the way Ross and the boys try to reconcile some of the "hardships" of youth. It’s not all problem, but there is clearly a search for solution and growth throughout some of Holy Shit's more meaningful songs (“Honesty, Honestly”, catchy-as-hell “Maple Drive is Still Alive” and bombastic closer “When We Were Young”).
But you know what? Screw all that. I could spend this time pretending this isn’t just a pop-punk album, but it definitely is. But I’m not afraid or ashamed to say that my vision may be clouded by how dead on this crap is with my life right now. And blah blah blah review – fine. Discredit me however you like, call me a person who may have given up on what a “review” is actually supposed to mean. But isn’t it just this, “I have made a connection with Holy Shit and here’s why.”? Isn’t that all any of this ever is? I have no idea what I will be doing tomorrow or three months down the road. I don’t even know what state I’ll be living in. I don’t say this for pity, but it’s just nice to know that, even in a vastly different world, there are people out there who feel like I do. Someone told me a quote the other day that made me think of this album, and it was, “Maybe we’re all doomed, but maybe we aren’t.” And I think that’s kind of Holy Shit’s message. Like on the alt-rock-ish “Wake Up,” when Ross screams, “I’m running / I’m running / But I can’t get out of here,” or when he breaks it all down on the Daggermouth-esque “Matthew’s Anthem,” with the line, “I’ll follow my misdirections,” we are reminded that life is basically, well, I have no idea. So good, fine, I won’t call this some sort of opus or landmark (though I belive this is by far the band’s most cohesive album). I will simply say, if you are a young person who is unsure or drifting by in any way, give Holy Shit a chance. Scream along. Feel better. Live your life the way you find most wonderful.
“Maybe we’re all doomed, but maybe we aren’t.” Only one way to find out.
Recommended If You Like: Daggermouth, Lifetime, The Swellers
I hope one day my writing is consistently as entertaining and cohesive as yours. It's so hard to make a review lighthearted while still retaining flow and getting across actual points on the record, but you own that style. I wrote this album off at first but I'm giving it a listen now and I think it will sit well with me after a couple more listens.