May 17, 2011 - Adeline
Vancouver's Living With Lions burst onto the Lifetime-loving pop-punk scene in 2007 with Dude Manor, a brisk EP that functioned as an equally stirring homage to the band's run-down punk house and their Saves The Day CDs. The next year, Make Your Mark put a crisp production polish on the band's smart songwriting while bringing out their pop potential. They hit the road hard, but nothing new was released for three years. Members shifted; most noticeably the departure of longtime vocalist Matt Postal lead to the recruitment of former Misery Signals guitarist Stu Ross as the band's new frontman. Naturally, fans of LWL’s earlier work were nervous, but after years of delays and unexpected left turns, Holy Shit is finally here—and it is easily the best thing the band have done to date.
Ross' vocal style is similar to that of Postal—which is to say, it's similar to Ari Katz from Lifetime, and that's never a bad thing. The band are still writing songs in the vein of their ’90s pop-punk idols, pulling from the Face To Face songbook on “Pieces,” while the standout “Maple Drive Is Still Alive” rings with all the power of a classic Movielife anthem. Living With Lions have always gone big, and with Holy Shit, they succeed in being anthemic without sounding overblown. It's a difficult balance to strike, but they've had the time to figure things out. Here's hoping it's not another three years before we get another batch of top-down summertime ragers like this.