GENRES: Rock and Roll, Jam Band Rock and Roll, Groove Reggae Rock
TOP TRACKS: Breather, Evolve, Jetpack Soundtrack, Sea of Tranquility
Here's a smaller band with less fame and recognition that all rock and roll purists should definitely check out. If you long for the days that the Who and Led Zeppelin dominated the arena of popular rock music in thr 1970's, prepare to live through the golden era once more in the form of Lionize. This Maryland based rock and roll band sport the truest and purest roots of rock music in my humble opinion out of any band I can really think of. The style of this band encompasses that of a 1970's jam band. There is variation to the song styles and structures, for example many Lionize songs sport reggae influences direct and indirect, but for the most part it's just groove based rock and roll. Very straight shooting. After hearing the new Lionize record, Jetpack Soundtrack, I found a lot to be impressed with but at the same time just a bit to disregard as dated rock music.
That's not to say that I don't particularly enjoy a good amount of the music here. The production on this album is very crisp and gritty. The drums sound really crunchy and the guitars really drive through the mix of just about every track. I really love the ingenuity of 'Breather' which was one of my instant favorites off of this record. While the song has a basic groovethis track is a bit more aggressive and confrontational in its overall attitude. It's just great rock music at its finest quality. The parts on just about every instrument seem to veer off on jam band territory.
We even get a taste of prog rock on the track 'Evolve' as an organ is thrown into the mix. Lionize simply show their wide range of sounds on this record through just about each track. I heard influences from reggae, rock, hard rock, classic metal, punk, reggae and even some jazz on the intro song. However, possibility my favorite track on this record is 'Sea of Tranquility', the closing track. With a very interesting reggae intro, this track just expands and unravels throughout the entirety of its six minute duration with a new part at each turn. There are ambient, psychadelic guitars, smoother reggae jams and of course big payoff rock and roll choruses throughout this song. It seems to describe everything this band aspires to be throughout the album.
However, I say this with a little bit of hesitation because while Lionize is definitely refreshing in the somewhat decaying scope of true rock and roll music, I find it strange and a bit boring at times to listen to music that is trying to mimic or even stay true to the roots of bands that came thirty or forty years ago. Simply no point. For example songs like 'Reality Check' just have a really generic sound to them. On this particular track, while the energy is high, the originality is not. The groove is there but the riff and overall structure of the song mixed with the harmonies in the chorus sound like a Journey song. These are the parts of 70's rock that we try to forget and move past and Lionize is still writing songs in this dated structure.
It's important to understand why music evolves and why new styles replace old. This has been the way of the industry in EVERY genre for over a century now. So to me, I really don't see the sense in staying attached to one way of doing things. The fact of the matter is, to the public eye, Lionize is creating dated music. Maybe some people won't really mind it, but I think it's a lot less ambitious than trying to forge your own style in modern world of the industry. Sure, they rock out very well and are great songwriters but I really don't feel as interested in their music knowing that bands have made even more revolutionary music decades before them.
This album is a good listen but substance wise, there is nothing new with the exception of a few very creative tracks especially the closer. I don't really see much ambition in this music and although the basic elements of rock and roll are nearly perfected to the truest form of the old ways, Lionize seem to be stuck in the past in a lot of ways.