What do you get when you mix pure punk attitude with viral energy, in-your-face lyrics, and raw vocals? How about when you put five punk rockers in a Vancouver pad nick named the Dude Manor, mix with alcohol and serve cold to the masses? In this case, the result is a no frills LP, courtesy of Canadian punks Living With Lions.
The band’s first full-length release, Make Your Mark sounds like a combination of Rise Against, circa Siren Song of the Counter Culture, and more recent releases by The Bouncing Souls. There are just enough snare-filled verses, and anti-authority lyrics to classify these guys as a punk band, but occasionally, LWL unleashes a catchy hook or two, showing off a more refined sound than was present on their debut EP, Dude Manor. Make Your Mark’s opener, “She’s A Hack,” sets the tone for the record with strong choruses, and lead single, “A Bottle of Charades” is one of the most commercial friendly tunes the guys have ever penned. LWL taps into influences like Hot Water Music with the track, “Cold Coffee,” which sounds like a mosh pit to the face, and slows things down a bit with a softer chorus on “Hotel: Part Seven,” but never skimps on the energy. Make Your Mark closes with “Dude Manor (R.I.P.),” a tribute to the band’s old crib and then a short “Outro,” which gives a nod to old school punk acts, swelling from one simple note into a whirlwind of screeching guitars and intricate drum fills before fading out just under the two-minute mark.
There’s no denying Make Your Mark draws on some strong influences, but the bulk of the record is incredibly original, and full of potential. As a freshman LP, Mark makes a strong statement as an honest punk record by five guys who just happen to love playing music together. For a first attempt it’ll do, and it will be interesting to see how Living With Lions evolves. So, if you’re looking for a more melodically driven record, Make Your Mark may not be for you. But, if you’re at all a fan of bands like the Bouncing Souls, Green Day, Hot Water Music, Lifetime, Rancid, or Bad Religion definitely give Living With Lions a listen.