Doleful Lions – Out Like a Lamb

Doleful Lions
Out Like a Lamb

Jonathan Scott is truly a gifted songwriter. Under the Doleful Lions’ moniker, Scott and his revolving group of musicians have crafted music that ranges from light and gleeful pop to melancholy and lovely affairs decked out with strings and keys. Unlike most singer/songwriters, Scott doesn’t let his ego take over the project, and on Out Like a Lamb you get many songs led by the vocals of Aynsley Pirtle as well as obvious contributions from her and the third member, Dave Jackson.
At their most purely pop moments, they evoke images of the Beach Boys, with catchy, jangly guitars and light, infectious rhythms. But behind every song, even the most bouncy, are deep flares, either through layered vocals, organs, strings, or assorted recordings that mix effortlessly. A master storyteller, Scott uses his songs to tell his tales, not content to sing about typical pop fodder.
On the purely pop side of things, “Saturday Mansions” is a catchy, 60s influenced number that uses female vocals prominently until the song ends on rich layered vocals. “I Can Take You to the Sun” is a psychedelic romp, filled with warbling keys and soaring vocals. On “Dear Lazarus,” Scott croons with the best of the 60s folksters, producing a Byrds-like piece of lovely psychedlia, while he turns “Sunshine Spartacus” into a lighthearted romp, filled with tambourine, backing “ba-ba-ba” vocals, and light, jangly guitars. The closing “Graveyards of Swallows” is a rich, textured track with guitars, keys, rich vocals, and a delicious atmosphere.
Many of the songs here are richly melancholic, however, such as the slow, almost Low-like “Stand in the Colosseum” and the acoustic singer/songwriter flavored “Surfside Motel,” in which Scott sings, “I don’t use drugs / that kind of life’s too hard for me / yet I’ve seen trails / of once that was and what it could be.” The title track is a lovely track starting off with beautiful guitar, warbling effects, and soaring atmospherics and flowing into a mid-tempo, dreamy piece with gorgeous vocals courtesy of Pirtle. Scott croons out the peaceful and soft “When We Were Wolves,” and “Texas is Beautiful” takes a more folk-styled approach with its acoustic guitars that somehow lend the song intensity.
Indie pop never sounded so beautiful, and neither did lovely singer/songwriter material sound so strong and catchy. Out Like a Lamb truly sounds like a group affair, yet Scott shows off his songwriting ability in full force. This album is light and lovely, playful and melancholy. It’s also very hard to review, because it makes me want to just sit back and smile and listen.