In like a lamb, out like a lionAs Tall As Lions - Self-Titled
(Triple Crown Records)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Sept. 6, 2006
Review by Tony BonyataBig melodies abound, sonic guitars buzz and swirl, and challenging arrangements spill forth from As Tall As Lions' sumptuous self-titled sophomore release. On it the Long Island-based band have crafted a ridiculously strong indie-rock album, mixing frailer moments ("I'm Kicking Myself") with flexed rock ("Be Here Now") along with a wealth of delightful pop hooks, as witnessed on the grand "Love Love Love (Love Love)" and "Milk and Honey."
Despite some critics grasping for comparisons to Coldplay, As Tall As Lions retain the melody without getting bogged down in the pomp and pretensions that plague much of the aforementioned band's work. Instead, As Tall As Lions' melodies are as sincere as they are beautiful (for instant proof, just listen to their closing number "Maybe I'm Just Tired," a track that's led by a simple, almost ambient, piano-line, before the song slowly swells with whispering harmonies and finally erupts with colorful hues of electric guitar while vocalist Daniel Nigro has passionate bouts of self-doubt, as he confesses over and over, "I'm know I'm not good enough for you.")
The band also manages to combine a good measure of ambient soundscapes into their music, creating an interesting and exciting mix of pop rock that wades in a pool of experimentation. From the glass chandelier piano tinkling and smoky trumpet that snakes throughout the opening track "Stab City" to the ethereal guitar loops and effervescent musical-box melody that opens and closes the majestic "Where Do I Stand," many of these richly composed and produced songs come in like a lamb, yet go out like a lion. And with a roar this loud, As Tall As Lions have created one of the most challenging and pleasing efforts of the year.
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