Album Review: Lionize – “Superczar And The Vulture”

I don’t sit down and listen to a whole reggae album. I just don’t. It’s not that I don’t have an appreciation for the genre, but every reggae album I’ve listened to didn’t have enough variety to keep me interested for a full forty-five minutes. I was happy to be proven wrong by Lionize’s recent Pentimento Music Company debut, “Superczar And The Vulture.”

There’s still more than enough reggae/dub sound in this record to be considered a part of that genre, but there’s also enough funk, alt rock, and soul influences to bring a whole new level to the depth throughout.

But good songwriting can’t fuel a good album alone. It also takes instrumental skill and talented musicianship, both of which Lionize most certainly possess. Keys player Chris Brooks brings a slew of awesome solos throughout the album (my favorite being in the second half of “Vessel”), and I’m not quite sure which member does the backup vocals, but those harmonies, combined with a strong lead voice (Nate Bergman), bring constant strength to these songs.

An added bonus is the (half) title track “Superczar,” in which the band borrows Streetlight Manifesto horn players Jim Conti (alto sax) and Nadav Nirenberg (trombone) for an amazing funk duel breakdown, following yet another groovy keys solo.

My top tracks for this album are “Dr. Livingston,” “Superczar,” “Vessel,” and the badass anthem “Walking Away (From Explosions Unscathed).” This album made it to my top ten list of 2011, and I continue to recommend it to fans of reggae, funk, alt rock, punk, ska, soul, and any mix of those.

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  • I have to say that Lionize has been one of if not my favorite “music discovery” in the past 5+ years. I was lucky enough to have Clutch tickets bought as a birthday gift and got to see Lionize open for Clutch at House of Blues in Atlantic City. It was a far drive for me but well worth it because I ended up getting to see two of my now favorite bands in a great venue. I was absolutely blown away to the point that I bought extra copies of Space Pope and the Glass Machine to give to friends. I am happy and sad to see them get such recognition over the last few years. I am always happy to see a band able to make a living creating their art. But I also like to have that “special unknown” band that I get to see at intimate shows when they come around. I just hope that they stay strong and keep providing more quality music for years to come…as long as that happens I will be sure to buy every album and keep spreading the word.

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