Living With Lions - Dude Manor EP
Record Label: Adeline Records
Release Date: April 7, 2009
It’s not often that a re-release trumps a band’s well-known work. Living With Lions released Make Your Mark last year to considerable, if somewhat lukewarm, praise. Their punk-pop that borrows heavily from peers like Daggermouth and Lifetime is, quite simply, a big ball of fun. But Make Your Mark sagged in places, which is distressing for a record barely longer than an HBO sitcom. So who knows what the future of the band holds, but I do know that their past is filled to the brim with noteworthy credentials. Dude Manor was originally recorded in 2006, back when Living With Lions and a bunch of other smelly people shared a space called, you guessed it, “Punk Palace” - kidding! This 7-track EP is a testament to those smelly, boozy, partyrific, and really smelly times. Maybe they should move back.
You’ll know what’s in store by the end of true opener “Later Is Better.” Semi-intricate guitarwork and express lane drumming blend into the background as Matt Postal hollers about youth and whatnot with guitarist Chase Brenneman. You might notice Brenneman’s name from the Daggermouth song “This Is Chase Brenneman”, as both bands hang out in their native Canada. (I wasn’t aware Canada had music, but I guess that one’s on me.) Really, there’s no reason to love LwL and hate Daggermouth. The only real difference between the two bands is that LwL extend their songs just enough to throw in semi-breakdowns or solo sections. These are minimal attempts at differentiation, but that’s all a band needs when songs often run under 3 minutes and feature such simplistically pleasing arrangements.
As the vocals and guitars often rely on quantity over quality, the true merit of Dude Manor rests in the talented hands of bassist Shayne Lundberg and drummer Loren Legare. Their additions aren’t mere afterthoughts; rather, the two rhythmic wonders command attention on the buildup in “Colors” or the lightly atmospheric middle of “A Noisy Noise Annoys The Boys.” Their accents easily define Living With Lions’ simplistic ruckuses. But even though Make Your Mark has yet to hook me, I do understand it better after hearing Dude Manor. The band never put a time limit on the thought, “Hope is over the hill,” so it only seems fair for me to afford them the same optimistic outlook.
Recommended If You Like:Daggermouth, Lifetime, creaky floorboards, A Wilhelm Scream, bathrooms with no locks
It took a while for Make Your Mark to hit me too, but once it did it really stuck. When I first heard it I agree with you in the thought that it sagged in parts. But after a few listens it's a really strong album.