Caleb Lionheart - Climbing Up a Mountain, Just For the View
Record Label: Barrett Records
Release Date: July 10, 2010
"True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar...
Caleb Lionheart's 2010 release begins with this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and never looks back.
After the excerpt from King's speech, you're immediately captivated by a bassline that is moving, catchy, and driving all at the same time, followed by a drum beat which matches perfectly, which forms the backbone of the first song, "Coney Island." Lyrically, the song touches on everything from Disney's purchase and subsequent leveling of Coney Island to the "Mayor of Lark Street," a homeless man who lives on the streets voluntarily in Albany, New York to pay the price for crimes he was never imprisoned for. The verses begin in a call and response tone, with vocalist Tony Bucci belting "Did you hear? (Did you hear?) Disney bought Coney Island..." building up to an absolute monster of a chorus.
"Make Believe," the next track, originally appearing on the band's 2007 acoustic EP of the same name, makes its full band debut on this EP. Touching on themes of forgiving yourself, the song is a beast. The drums are ferocious through and through, and the emotion in Bucci's voice could move even the most cold-hearted of people. The guitar work here is also impressive, with great riffs and lead guitar noodling and such. "Can we forgive ourselves?/Can we just make believe?/Can we just make amends?/Or at least just get some sleep for the time being?" will be stuck in your head for days, and you'll never want it to leave.
Opening with a hell of a riff, "Flag Folding" is a song about "re-educating" foreign peoples and touching upon Dith Pran, a photojournalist from Cambodia who survived the Cambodian Holocaust. "You can calm a tongue by ripping it from the mouth/But you can't change my mind by muffling the sound" is a fine example of the band's lyrical skill, and stands out as one of the most powerful lyrics on the EP. The song slows its fast pace for a refreshing slow bridge before unleashing back into the thunderous chorus.
"Our Miracles" is the last song on the release, and the best choice to end it. Arguably the most poppy song on the disc, it also shows off the bass and guitar work quite nicely. The repetition of "Been living off our miracles" makes the song absolutely incredible live as the crowd piles on one another for a chance to share the microphone with Bucci as the gang vocals come in towards the end of the song. Lyrically discussing not wasting your time and instead doing what you enjoy, the song should be the ultimate summer anthem.
In summary, Caleb Lionheart is without a doubt one of the best pop-punk bands out there right now. Tony Bucci is arguably the best pop-punk vocalist and his work here solidifies this based on the intelligence of his lyrics, the dynamic of his delivery and the emotion displayed in his voice. The drums are as fast and hard-hitting as you'll find in the genre today, and the bass, while not always completely audible, is fantastic and original. Throw in swirling guitars that are sure to melt the face of every man, woman, and child, and you have the recipe for the best pop-punk EP released in 2010.