Lions Lions are a band you should be listening to, but probably aren’t. Regardless of the years spent developing in the local New England scene in a myriad of other very talented bands (including Vanna and Therefore I Am), Lions Lions continue to fly under the radar amongst the throngs of typical pop-punk bands now clogging up a new generation’s iTunes. Their new full-length, To Carve Our Names, looks to change all that with some very consistent material and a new label lending the support needed to get this album some much needed recognition—but is it deserving of such acclaim?
Well, yes and no. Perhaps it was my anticipation going into the album. I was expecting something a little more groundbreaking, but To Carve Our Names just didn’t connect with me in the way I was hoping for. I was a big fan of the band’s last EP, The Path We Take, and so going into my first listen, expectations were admittedly very high. But the album just didn’t deliver in a major way.
It certainly has it’s high points, and overall I’d have to say it’s a solid release that I’m sure will grow on the listener over time, but it tends to struggle, especially for the first few tracks. The band shines when blending their post-hardcore driven sound with a diverse set of influences, but unfortunately they tend to stick to a more typical formula, rarely straying from their comfort zone. This results in a few watered-down tracks that sound more like filler or b-side material, and though these songs carry all the traits Lions Lions are known for: catchy choruses, a clear hardcore influence, and the occasional breakdown, they just don’t hold up to the bar set on previous releases.
Thankfully, the album contains enough great moments to warrant the occasional misstep. While the later tracks don’t carry any significant surprises, they at least break away from Lions Lions’ familiar mold with some interesting structure changes and a seemingly moodier tone to the songs. Tracks such as "Losing Balance" and "Letting Go" demonstrate this expansion perfectly, and even hint at some potential we’ve yet to see from the band.
While I doubt To Carve Our Names is the album to send Lions Lions’ career careening into the spotlight, it should at least garner some real interest in the band. It falls short from time to time with some obvious redundancies, but that could easily be said for most of the genre as of late. If you’re looking for some edgier pop-punk, don’t skip this release.
6.0 / 10
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