Doleful Lions were formed in Chicago during the mid '90s. Oh yes, Chicago. See a trend in the reviews I write? Soon after, the brainchild of the outfit, Jonathan Scott, moved the band to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. After a few albums that I'll skip over in this review (although you shouldn't skip over 2002's Out Like A Lamb), Scott has put out Song Cyclops, Volume 2, a VERY lo-fi collection of beautiful pop songs and covers. I kid you not when I say this...this album is kicking my ass. This album punched me in the face, knocked me out, hit me with a pool cue, and now is pouring beer all over me. This album stole my girlfriend, drove to Vegas, got married, and now he's going after my folks. Watch out, as it will do the same to you. It's THAT good.
Most of music these days is ordinary. It's not going to steal your girlfriend, it's not going to keep you up at night wondering what the artist was thinking when he wrote that song. Song Cyclops Volume 2 is that good. It's different, it's purposefully weird and it's VERY lo-fi. It sounds like a tape your friend in college made for you, but god damn can he write a song and sing. Scott wears his influences on a sleeve. He's not trying to hide the fact that he's obsessed with Spector and the Beach Boys. Hell, he covers "There's No Other (Like My Baby)" and "She's Got Rhythm." "There's No Other (Like My Baby)" could perhaps beat Mr. Neutral Milk Mangum for the best Spector cover I've ever heard. I was obsessed with Mangum's cover of "I Love How You Love Me" for a while, but I'll be damned if Scott's cover doesn't kick another ass. He nails it on the head.
There are a ton of great songs on this album. Almost every single one of the 22 tracks is worth listening to. Scott sounds just like Alex Chilton and many of the songs here could have been Big Star songs. But he does it better than anyone I've ever heard. "Foxhole Prayer" is a direct rip of "Our Prayer" from Smile. "The Warriors End Table" sounds like Rogue Wave covering Olivia Tremor Control. "Wallflower" sounds straight off #1 Record, and "Chrome Submarine" is one of the best songs I've heard all year.
Song Cyclops, Volume 2 is one of the best albums of this year so far. No questions asked. It's songwriting at it's best. It's singing at it's best. It's fucking different. THANK GOD!!!!!!!!
"The Head Of The Shade Antichrist" MP3
Doleful Lions (MySpace)