Baltimore’s With Lions is a band out to make things interesting. A mix of rock and blues, hip hop and something more. The band is interesting and their latest album, Fast Luck, is With Lions going all out. While a bit eccentric, it’s certainly a decent listen and a chance to escape the typical.
When With Lions latest album kicks off with “Rundown,” it’s a bit fast. There’s clapping, vocal tracks drifting in and out –constantly building layers. It’s hard to get a feel for what’s about to happen but somewhere in there you get some Black Keys vibes. The album has high hopes. By the third track things are starting to sound real good. “Down We Go,” features a powerful rock melody and some strong singing. With Lions’ Fast Luck is an onslaught of rock and blues cut with some hip hop on top. It’s an interesting listen that features a variety of influences. Unfortunately the album really isn’t everything, and can often be hard to digest.
At its best Fast Luck is some sort of suave rock-blues, and at its worst, the album is a bad movie soundtrack. With Lions have a unique style and while it’s a fresh break from everything else you hear today, it’s also a bit messy. While one moment you’re jamming to some carefully played guitars and soulful singing, the next you’re being drowned in excessive layers and effects. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should, and With Lions did –a lot. Layer after layer of texture mixes into a cacophony and the songs lose out to themselves. It’s a real shame, many of the tracks feel as if they could be fantastic if only the band practiced some restraint.
Ultimately Fast Luck isn’t going to be for everyone and it doesn’t seem to be too much of a blockbuster. At the very least, the album offers some catchy songs and a deviation from the norm. With Lions is a creative band, and although they may not be breaking status quo, they sure as hell are challenging it.