Lion Cub: American Buffalo

Lion Cub: American Buffalo
The front cover image of Lion Cub’s American Buffalo shows ivy growing on a wooden structure. Most likely this is a picture of a deck of some sort. What strikes me is the contrast between nature and what human’s build with nature. The imagery and album titled, American Buffalo, made me think the album would be alt-country similar to Scud Mountain Boys who originate from the same general area of Massachusetts as Lion Cub.
However there is nothing alt-country or roots rock about Lion Cub. Instead Lion Cub performs a brand of keyboard-tinged indie pop somewhere between bands like Volcano, I’m Still Excited and Minus the Bear. This modern sound seems to betray the imagery that goes along with the album’s imagery but where the imagery is present is in lead singer/songwriter, Chad Jewett’s lyrics.
Nearly every song has some lyrical connection to nature. Some song’s connection is obvious like “Goldenrod.” The track title comes from a type of flower and in the first line of the song, the flower makes an appearance as Jewett sings “barefoot in the goldenrod/with your allergies acting up.” This imagery of nature and human’s interaction with it is a theme over and over explored in the album.
Other track’s use nature in a less conventional way. On the album’s lead single, “Flora/Fauna” Jewett adeptly compares a heart-breaking loss with the loss of the American Buffalo. Despite the sadness of the lyrics, the song’s pathos are that of an upbeat rock tune.
The thematic elements of American Buffalo show the band’s ability to write a cohesive album, a rarity for most band’s sophomore albums. The ability to mix a steady theme with pop song writing should keep Lion Cub worthwhile paying attention to for years to come.
Rating: 8.0/10
MP3: Lion Cub “Goldenrod”
Buy: iTunes