After being chosen as one of Already Heard’s 50 bands to watch in 2015, I had high hopes for Cheltenham’s I, The Lion. Having being lumped with the “post-punk” tag, ‘Run’ marks the next evolution of I, The Lion and allows them to transfer their impressive live show to record and expand their sound.
‘Hold Strong’ kicks off the EP on a high note with steady pounding drums giving way to intricate guitar work in the chorus all the while gruff vocals try to take center stage. Structually the track ebbs and flows between melodic rock and heavy breakdowns leading to spiralling guitars. It’s interesting to see a band try and fit so many styles in one song, yet it works.
Next up ‘Icarus’ sees the trio put emphasis on their guitar-driven anthemic rock side. With it’s soaring chorus and ballad-like middle, I, The Lion once again show they are able to change up the tempo at short notice and without any effort. ‘Man Made Of Mice’ comes off as a more straightforward rock number, but that’s not a bad thing. The track displays strong duel harmonies and moves along at a good pace. It may not have the twists and turns that the previous 2 tracks had to offer, but it is an effective.
‘Bonny Island’ closes the EP in storming fashion. With a subtly heavy groove, the track bends between a thick, pummelling onslaught and a atmospheric, prog-like middle all the while allowing the bands strong songwriting ability to take center stage.
Although ‘Run’ is only 4 songs long, it is clear I, The Lion have a variety of ideas and are able to execute them in a timely fashion. They keep you hooked from the outset as well as keep you guessing. Their musicanship is especially flawless and diverse, whilst their songwriting is nearly as perfect.
It will be interesting to see how I, The Lion approach a possible full-length. They’ve laid down a strong foundation with ‘Run’ but whether they’re able to keep listeners attention over a longer period is yet to be seen.
‘Run’ EP by I, The Lion is out now.
Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)