Rock music is a genre we are usually partial to due to the diversity a band can take within the category. Hard rock music and soft rock music are not only distinct through the use of their adjectives, but also through the substantial difference in the sound they convey. As we are bias to rock music, we are further predisposed to soft rock music. This thought is entirely our own opinion, so don’t feel obliged to agree with our words, just take them into consideration. A band who sticks to tunes mostly of soft rock music has a taxing job. How do you make rock music smoother without losing the toughness exuded by the genre as a whole? Having musical skills is the best answer we could give you. Not the most detailed response, but listening to soft rock tunes will better justify our reply. When checking out those tracks, there are no better songs to confide in than those of Living With Lions.

The Canadian rock group, who released its debut EP, “Dude Manor” and its debut full-length album, “Make Your Mark”, in 2009, is back with its newest album, “Holy Sh*t”. Living With Lions’ “Holy Sh*t “dropped on May 17th via Adeline Records. The album title is pretty explicit, but the 10 track album exudes rock songs that are glistened with less ear rupturing vocals and tempo. The Vancouver group, which has had its fair share of member switch ups, currently consists of the remaining members’ guitarist and vocalist, Chase Brenneman, guitarist Landon Maz, and drummer Loren Legare and newly recruited members, vocalist, Stuart Ross and bassist and vocalist, Bill Crook. Before we break apart their album, “Holy Sh*t”, we would just like to point out that by calling this group “soft”, we are not downplaying the band’s rock side. We simply mean that Living With Lions has a certain talent that allows them to communicate songs of musical forcefulness without the angst.

The opening track off of “Holy Sh*t” is the tune, “Pieces.” Beginning with an uprising instrumental tempo, “Pieces” reiterates what it means to be a band of soft rock music. The vocals of the tune express words of passion and power, but it doesn’t feel as if the message of the tune is being vigorously imposed onto us. Living With Lions expresses a rock sound that is enjoyably stiffened by the more Lynryd Skynyrd-esque vocals. A fuzziness floats over the chorus of “Pieces” that can arguably cross the band over to country rock music, but this transition is a positive aspect of the band. Who wouldn’t want to be compared to the legendary band, Lynyrd Skynyrd? Living With Lions has the ability to control and restrain their sound making them incomparable to the unruly and wild sound of inexperienced rock bands. Soft rock music is all about having enough strength to enter the untamed world of rock music without being sucked in. “Pieces” shows that this musical ability is possible for rock bands to accomplish.

Moving from track one, there are nine other tunes that are able to further support our notion of the band’s control. “In Your Light” is compiled of various different tempos, from those that are jarring to those that are upbeat to those that are slower paced. Basically, the tune showcases elements of hard rock music and soft rock music. The most intriguing aspect of “In Your Light” is that the softer traits are expressed in the chorus of the track. Usually tunes express a more energetic sound in the chorus to make those verses more memorable and catchy compared to the rest of the tune. Living With Lions chose a different route and the path irrefutably works. The chorus of “In Your Light” is unhurriedly sung and draws attention to the group’s subtle, but unforgettable chorus. You will find yourself itching for the group to re-sing the slower paced sections of “In Your Light” due to the tranquil emotion those verses evoke. The tune is just another reason why we play favorites in the rock music category.

Rounding out our top thee off “Holy Sh*t” is the track, “Maple Drive Is Still Alive.” The track has a fast paced tempo that does not guide the speed of the vocals. We are not saying the instrumentals and the vocals clash, but the two choose to mesh together by abiding by their own pace and by taking other approaches to create balance within the tune. The echoing of the background vocals helps unite the sounds and adds a nice charm to the song by softening the hard rock sound of the instruments. It is not only the lead vocals and instruments that certify the track as gold, but also the hinted sounds that adjoin the beats at the forefront.

Living With Lions’ “Holy Sh*t” shows just how challenging it can be to master the sound of soft rock music. The specific genre is not just about jamming away and screaming your heart out. It involves using your given talent to create a haze over the hard rock elements that will mystify the band’s sound. It is up to you as a fan to travel through the cloud and appreciate all the elements that compose the musical atmosphere above.

by Lonnie Nemiroff

Living With Lions
Living With Lions

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