Living with Lions: Make Your Mark

What do you get when you mix pure punk attitude with viral energy, in-your-face lyrics, and raw vocals? How about when you put five punk rockers in a Vancouver pad nicknamed the Dude Manor, mix with alcohol and serve cold to the masses? In this case, the result is a no-frills LP, courtesy of Canadian punks Living with Lions.

The band’s first full-length release Make Your Mark sounds like a combination of Rise Against, circa Siren Song of the Counter Culture, and more recent releases by the Bouncing Souls. There are just enough snare-filled verses, and anti-authority lyrics to classify these guys as a punk band, but occasionally, LWL unleashes a catchy hook or two, showing off a more refined sound than was present on their debut EP, Dude Manor. Make Your Mark’s opener, “She’s a Hack,” sets the tone for the record with a strong chorus, and current single, “A Bottle of Charades” sets the bar as one of the most commercial-friendly tunes the guys have ever penned. LWL taps into influences like Hot Water Music with the track, “Cold Coffee,” which sounds like a mosh pit to the face, and slows things down a bit with a softer chorus on “Hotel: Part Seven,” but never skimps on the energy. Make Your Mark closes with “Dude Manor (R.I.P.),” a tribute to the band’s old crib and then a short “Outro,” which gives a nod to old school punk acts, swelling from one simple note into a whirlwind of screeching guitars and intricate drum fills before fading out just under the two-minute mark.

There’s no denying Make Your Mark draws on some strong influences, but the bulk of the record is incredibly original, and full of potential. As a freshman LP, Mark makes a strong statement as an honest punk record by five guys who just happen to love playing music together. For a first attempt it’ll do, and it will be interesting to see how Living with Lions evolves. So, if you’re looking for a more melodically driven record, Make Your Mark may not be for you. But, if you’re at all a fan of bands like the Bouncing Souls, Green Day, Hot Water Music, Lifetime, Rancid, or Bad Religion definitely give Living With Lions a listen. (Adeline 2009)

Living with Lions MySpace page

  

New Tunes From An Old Favorite

Bouncing Souls
If you haven’t heard already, punk princes The Bouncing Souls have been releasing a new song each month as part of their 20th anniversary album. We’re three tracks deep, and already The Souls, true to form, are making quite a buzz on the scene.

Gasoline—

The first track, released January 1, 2009 is entitled “Gasoline” and packs a five-fingered, old-school Souls punch. BlogCritics.org called the release, “punk rock satisfaction from start to finish,” and said, “The Bouncing Souls prove with this single that even if 20 years have passed they still are capable of pushing out great tunes.” The track is classically up-beat, pure punk rock with singer Greg Attonito’s signature pipes driving the melody, as he sings of being sheltered from reality and searching for a distraction from the monotony of every-day life. Aversion.com called the track, “ everything you’d expect from the Souls…a dose of old-school grit gleaned from stacks of British singles…from The Clash to early oi!, with doses of big-sugar pop-punk melody.” It seems the Bouncing Souls can do no wrong, even after 20 years!

We All Sing Along—

February brought us, “We All Sing Along,” a gritty heartfelt anthem of a song with a positive twist. Track two is the perfect combination of old-school Souls attitude with a smoother more polished feel that mimics more recent releases like 2006’s, “The Pizza Song.” BrokenHeadPhones.com called the track a, “punk anthem” celebrating its positivity and inspirational tendencies. If the Souls can keep cranking out tunes like this one after more than twenty years, there’s hope for the future of punk music after all.

Airport Security—
As far as punk love songs go The Bouncing Souls have hit the jackpot with the third of this year’s twelve releases, “Airport Security.” In an interview found on ReadJunk.com the band said about the song,

“A good love song is hard to come by.. Most times they are corny and annoying…but the good ones are sooooo Good!! Airport Security is that attempt for me. Its a love song from me to my wife with a slice of a political statement/comic relief…but hopefully when the songs starts you forget about me, my wife, politics, comedy and yourself. If you do…it’s a good love song.”

It’s safe to say the Souls have achieved that exact affect sweeping the listener off his feet with the lyric, “I could write a thousand songs and never get it right/In my mind its getting harder to leave you/You know I have to believe you’re alright/What else can I do while I’m flying so high.” There’s a sort of longing in Attonito’s voice that becomes almost playful when combined with the pulsating guitars of the verse. This is the perfect follow-up to “We All Sing Along.”

It seems as though The Bouncing Souls have a nice little album coming together here. All three of the tracks released so far have been packed full of Bouncing Souls’ signature attitude with a new school twist that’s polished and mature. After pumping out more than 20 years of hardcore punk rock, The Bouncing Souls have managed to find a happy medium between their old school, garage-punk roots, and the shiny pop punk of today’s mainstream. If the next nine tracks are anything like these three, we’re all in for a treat, courtesy of The Bouncing Souls.

  

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