Lionlimb has flawlessly introduced itself to the beautifully claustrophobic world of music. Shoo is Lionlimb’s debut record and it’s brilliant. It is music in its most raw, pure form. Every instrument is audible, every note is coming from an untainted human voice and the songs are well thought out and genuine. I’m having a difficult time describing my favorite aspect of the record, however. I don’t want it to come across inaccurately. It’s as if every track goes exactly where my ear wants it to go. Each chord progresses into the next in just the way my mind craves. Shoo is anything but predictable but these guys know how to write music that appeals to the human ear.
Let’s take the opening cut, “God Knows”: simple piano chords, an organ, basic drum beats, carefree guitar licks, brass and a melody that rolls over the listener with ease. There is nothing outstanding, outlandish or fancy about “God Knows” but it’s a spot on easy listening indie rock jam. The entire record is like this. None of the tracks are overly exciting or guaranteed to get your heart pounding but DAMN, they are good.
“Ride” and “Wide Bed” are a bit more on the melancholic side. “Wide Bed” shares with the listener the jazz-inspired side of Lionlimb without suffocating them with bizarre rhythms or abstract melodies. It’s smooth and velvety.
“Ride” starts with these lines:
Misery is the dress she wears
I wear the suits of misfortune
and sounds like the soundtrack to a movie scene with broken lovers…and pouring rain of course. It’s dramatic in the subtle Lionlimb way. It’s wonderful to hear music that’s not over the top. The concepts of the subject matter are similar to what’s out there but it’s not over-dressed and bejeweled with swanky production and overtly showy technology.
Shoo sounds exactly like the way it was created. It began with layer upon layer of instrumentals and melodies but the hardest part was subtracting layers to reveal the simplistic beauty below. The simplicity lies in the instrumental chatter. Each instrument talks to the other and each song is a conversation between instruments with a voice over the top, explaining to us humans in the lyrics, what the song is about. One of the best examples of this “instrumental chatter” is “Tinman.” I swear the guitar is speaking to the drums, bass and piano, each instrument responding to each other. There’s a beautiful back and forth in Lionlimb’s songwriting and I think this is what makes their music such effortless listening.
“Turnstile” is one of my favorites because it showcases both the theatrical nature of Lionlimb’s music and the conversational aspect of their song-styling.
However, my top track on the album is “Just Because” but it was hard to pick one. It’s my favorite due to all of the reasons I explained above regarding how great Shoo is but I can’t quite put my finger on why this is my favorite. Perhaps it’s that fantastic and catchy piano line? The saddened but simultaneously upbeat ambiance of the track? As if things are bad but they won’t always be?
Altogether, Shoo is a refreshing record that offers the listener a break from all the wild and woolly music out there. No bells and whistles here, just talented musicians with fantastic songwriting abilities. I look forward to hearing more from them.
Catch the guys at SXSW this week and purchase their debut record, Shoo, on iTunes now.
MAR 16, 2016 AUSTIN, TX WONDERLAND (SXSW)
MAR 18, 2016 AUSTIN, TX STREET LEGAL GUITARS PARTY (SXSW)