"Are these guys really this good?" That's the first thing that sprang to mind when ECA co-owner Mary Kate sent over three MP3s from one of the label's forthcoming releases, More Songs For Dreamsleepers, by a band called Christians And Lions that wasn't even close to being on my radar (ECA has a knack for that). The influences were clear - indie, folk, roots, blues, country and pop. The songs were well written, comfortable yet challenging enough to stay interesting, and well... surprisingly thoughtful for such a young group.
The line "What's the use of a good strong noose/when your problem's too much hangin' around," is just one little sample of the kind of double edged lyrics that had me blasting an email to Mary Kate asking her for the rest of the album after listening to all three songs just once.
Something told me that the three songs I heard were no fluke... that the rest of the album wouldn't disappoint. Like Lennie Briscoe, my gut feeling would turn out to be accurate.
The recordings are raw, but not distractingly lo-fi. They give the album an indie sensibility and feeling of "realness," kind of like the young quartet is sitting in your family room strumming their acoustic guitars for your own personal listening pleasure. Though the album is acoustic guitar heavy, interspersed strings, horns, and organs add just the right amount of artistic accent on songs that might otherwise be a little too stripped down.
The songs themselves ping-pong back and forth between upbeat and fun indie pop offerings like "Stay Warm" and "Some Trees," soft, lyrically-driven singer/songwriter tunes like "A Root's Grave Is Above Ground," country-inspired roots rock like album opener "Longboy," and modern day indie rock like the driving march of "Skinny Fists" and the down-tempo, Reindeer Section-esque album closer, "Landing."
Christians And Lions are young. They haven't even had a proper tour yet, but you best start paying attention to these guys now. They're simply too good to ignore.
"Gimme Diction" MP3
"Skinny Fists" MP3
Christians And Lions