Record Label:Tijuana Gift Shop
Release Date: June, 12th, 2012
From the get go With Lions latest release, Equipo, soars far above the listeners head. Something formed from the corners of the epochs of Brit-pop arena rock, think Muse, Radiohead, Equipo goes big or goes home. With Lions took the tight, focused sound of their last release, Touch the Sound, and expanded its borders both sonically and aesthetically. Everything about this record is huge, the thundering drum hits, the crunchy guitars, the sultry synth's and especially the hauntingly melancholy vocals.
Overly produced through and through, Equipo brings forth a mixed offering of a songs. While my personal preferences may lean towards the rawness and unadulterated recordings, the high production level on this record makes sense. Both members, Woody Ranere and Christian Celaya, are experienced sound engineers. Only making it appropriate that their experience would transfer over to their music. In addition, their Brit-pop, larger than life style simply reaches out for the higher levels of musical quality. Production aside their are some gems within the folds of this book.
The opening track “Equipo” quickly knocks the listener back into their seat, as they realize they no longer need to stand in order to hear this band. The pounding drums and guitar forcefully fly over the listeners head and smash down with an equally powerful force. Reminiscent of Muse, the song makes one envision thoughts of flashing lights, fog machines and thousands of screaming fans. As the band fades out from its glorified entrance it more modestly begins the next track, “Olympia.” The most well put together and entrancing song on the album, “Olympia”’s soulful mid 90’s Radiohead inspired grooves drags the listener out of the arena and into the forest near by. A repetitive acoustic guitar riffs drags the rest of the song along as various synth mods pop in and out. Violins dance around the top of the sonic landscapes while the sad story of waiting for love plays out. “I sit around and wait/oh for you,” moans guest vocalist Stephen Ortega. The song ends on pounding downward outro with a synthesizer that brings to mind none other than the most depressing, Depche Mode. Melancholy prevails again.
Another highlight on the album is the touching ballad “Fortress.” The high notes of the piano slowly tip toe throughout the song while a light brush on the snare drum works its way in and out of the song. Nostalgia at its finest, the song brings to mind Sigur Ros and their power to sooth the most temperamental of souls. Sadly enough however, past these three songs their isn’t much to be said about Equipo. “You” plays off as an almost exact copy of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs single “Maps” and the song song “Rats Out” seems like its meant for one of the Bourne movies.
All in and all its an impressive project for two sole members, however the playback value on this record isn’t much. Some solid tracks line its borders but they lack originality and purpose. Interesting take on some of the most popular artists of our time, but nothing more.