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As Tall As Lions
As Tall As Lions
Triple Crown Records
www.astallaslions.com


Soul-rock is a permutation that often comes off as contrived, but in the hands of Massapequa, Long Island-based As Tall As Lions it is a natural synthesis, genuinely immersed in affection and motivating movements. Their recent self-titled release is the second in their discography, following last year's Lafcadio. Their producers Steve Haigler (The Pixies, Fuel) and R&B/hip hop songsmith Mike Watts shaded As Tall As Lions' songs with vocal melodies that reach and pull in gorgeous expressions of flexibility while the guitar tracks disperse, invert, and trickle over the melody. The rhythm sections are susceptible to the vocal tempo and are magnified into full body thrusts on the sprocket sections and then curdle into themselves on the retreating laps.

What is new to As Tall As Lions are the piano and keyboard sequences that drizzle and moan through the numbers, tailoring their shape to match the vocal motions. As Tall As Lions express lengthy vocal harmonies in these tunes, which draw out a more adhesive tapering in the melodic curves and rises. Tracks like "Stab City" have a finesse in the chord steps which mingle with the boasting horns and keyboard groves. The lounging vocals on "Song For Luna" are romantically inclined, and it goes without saying for the song "Love, Love, Love."

The registers are elevating and the tempos range from mid-paced to power ballad. "Ghost Of York" buds in its volume and then offshoots into chapters of vocals accompanied by grooves of piano and drum series. The saccharine pores on "Milk And Honey" give the number an overflowing stock of sweetness. "Be Here Now" blossoms and retreats through the progressions bringing a theatrical element in its gossamer of emo-fused macramé. The acoustics of "I'm Kicking Myself" introduce folksy beads into the soul-rock lineaments. The number was completely written and performed by lead singer Daniel Nigro. The vocal slopes on "Where I Stand" are majestic and delightfully watered in keyboard drizzles.

The final listed track "Maybe I'm Just Tired" is a power ballad of sinking and rising proportions. The vocals and instrument parts sink into low levels then float up into majestic bursts before deflating back down, all done with complete finesse. A minute later an unlisted track comes up. In a walking or andante pace, the vocals smooth over the magma of chord pulses that ascend through the bridge of the song. The chorus in the background adds a vibrant texture to the tune, and though it is repetitive, it fits in beautifully.

Beautiful music from band members Saen Fitzgerald on guitar, Julio Tavarez on bass, and Cliff Sarcona on drums, and beautiful vocals by lead singer Daniel Nigro, all confidently performed is what As Tall As Lions' second release is offering.

-Susan Frances

Tracklisting:
1. Stab City
2. Song For Luna
3. A Break A Pause
4. Love, Love, Love
5. Ghost Of York
6. Milk And Honey
7. Be Here Now
8. I'm Kicking Myself
9. Where Do I Stand
10. Maybe I'm Just Tired


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