The Lions Rampant – Play Rock n Roll! EP

The Lions Rampant
Play Rock n Roll! EP

It takes a lot for new garage band to impress anymore. There has to be something a little different or just so perfect about the music that the band in question bobs out of the sea of garage bands long enough for anyone to take notice. Sometimes it’s enough to just be really good at playing the same shit that others have played – at least in terms of an enjoyable listen or three before getting lost in the shuffle. A garage band can’t just mimic if it wants any sort of notice beyond notoriety from hometown fans in the local dive bars.

Kentucky band the Lions Rampant do indeed have that something extra that lifts its music out of mere garage band status – and believe me, it has nothing to do with the homemade lion costumes members of the group are known for wearing onstage. Sure, the Lions Rampant has plenty of blues and pop influences, but there’s more going happening on the Play Rock n Roll EP. The six tracks here show off a tightly knit group with equally taut songwriting skills. Their music is fun, of course, but no one here sounds messy for the sake of being messy. The songs are soulful and raw without a hint of sloppiness – like each guy knows exactly how many PBR’s he can drink while still sounding great.

“70-30” kicks things off right with high energy and to-the-point lyrics like “I don’t got time to waste on you…sometimes you’re in love, but sometimes you got to get what you want”. “Let Us In! (Come On)” is more in the same vein. You can easily pick out the pop elements underneath the balls out rhythm section. Singer Stuart MacKenzie has his rock swagger down pat and reminds me a bit of John Spencer without the over-emotive voice. “Cryin’ All the Time” starts out great (“This is my heart babe, this is my mouth, you can’t control what comes out”), but peters out into a slower instrumental for the last minute and a half of the nearly four minute song. A great interlude for a live show, this tactic doesn’t work well on an EP where space is at a premium. But, if this is the only minor negative then it’s nothing to whine about.

Play Rock n Roll is a fine showing, one that will surely garner more attention for this young band. After self-releasing a few EP’s it’s about time a label takes notice to give these guys the extra push they need. Fans of garage rock looking for something exciting should make their way to the Lions Rampant website, where both EPs are available for free.