First off, “Stu Ross, Good Dude; Great Dude.” If you know the song I’m talking about then you may have been a fan of Stu Ross as long as I have been. If you don’t know what I am talking about, well shame on you. The song is from Eastern Canadian band The Fullblast. I swear this all ties together; stick with me. Ian Stanger was the singer of The Fullblast and was always hyping the band Misery Signals, which Stu Ross plays guitar for. Years later Ross sings and plays guitar in a band called Lowtalker, who are awesome by the way. Next, Living With Lions parts ways with vocalist Matt Postal and that is when Ross grabbed the microphone to do some Lion growls. Now Living With Lions have released their latest album “Holy Shit” on Stanger’s record label, Black Box Recordings. See, full circle! (Well, maybe a pentagon.)
If you haven’t seen the artwork for this album you should definitely check it out. It looks like the Bible but instead of being titled HOLY BIBLE it reads “HOLY SHIT.” The linear notes have a couple pictures telling the story of people worshiping the Holy Shit. The artwork has gotten some negative attention but after actually seeing it I don’t understand why people have made such a big deal out of it. I mean, you can obviously tell that it shouldn’t be taken seriously. It’s just some poop jokes. They just took the joke to the extreme by revolving the theme of their album around it. Once you push past the turds and toilet paper you will find a brilliant punk rock album. “Holy Shit” showcases LWL’s catchy beats, sweet licks and honest lyrics that have nothing to do with religion (or poo).
The disc starts out with a perfectly placed intro track, “Pieces” that builds up the catchy pop-punk they are about to throw in your face. Instantly recognized is the similarity of Ross’ voice to Postal’s. Ross has a similar yet stronger-sounding voice. The interesting thing is that Ross, Postal and guitarist/back up vocalist Chase Brenneman wrote the lyrics to the songs on the album so Ross is singing three different people’s opinions and experiences. Especially interesting because one of the point of views is from a dude who isn’t a part of the band anymore.
The song on the album with the most pop is “Honesty, Honestly,” which they released before the album came out. I guess you would call it their single? If you want a laugh, then watch the video on YouTube: it’s hilarious. All I have to say is that Brenneman is the best dance-blader I have ever seen.
“Holy Shit” isn’t all jokes though; the lyrical content deals with diverse issues. Whether it be about being the bigger man and letting things go on “Whatever You Want” or the drug problem that Postal was dealing with in “Rough Around The Edges.” “Holy Shit” has everything that you would expect from Living With Lions (and in my opinion now has better vocals); and with any band you want their latest album to be better than the last, which is what they have done. Their live shows have seemed to have a heightened energy too. These Lions are alive and they’re stoked on their new tunes.
I would recommend Holy Shit to anybody who likes punk. I think they offer enough to please fans of The Wonder Years to Rise Against all the way down to Bane. If you want even more information than the lyrics can give, check out the article in Alternative Press where Brenneman gives an explanation of the record track-by-track here. http://www.altpress.com/features/entry/track_by_track_living_with_lions/