You Can't Take It With You Review

artist: As Tall as Lions date: 08/24/2009 category: compact discs
As Tall as Lions: You Can't Take It With You
Released: Aug 18, 2009
Genre: Progressive rock/indie
Label: Triple Crown
Number Of Tracks: 11
From start to finish it delivers just the right kind of song at the right time and goes with the ebb and flow of things.
 Sound: 8.5
 Lyrics: 8
 Overall Impression: 8.5
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overall: 8.7
You Can't Take It With You Reviewed by: UG Team, on august 24, 2009
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Sound: Evolution is always a funny thing. For some it is forced like a brick of playdough through the eye of a needle, but for the USA's As Tall As Lions it seems to flow through their blood like ape through man. The band's said they have to go through quite a strenuous process to make their records but their sound has, for three albums, truly sounded like it has grown out of the ground and sprouted just in time to make it into the recording studio. Organic' is the word, but there are all sorts of others that could be used to describe You Can't Take It With You'. In hindsight, it's perfectly clear that their sophomore self-titled album served as a stepping stone between the wide-eyed and rock-oriented debut Lafcadio' and this, the output of a band who have grown up and have a sound to prove it. Perhaps more than ever this band are led by their rich vocal arrangements, but this time, in an arrangement that is quite unusual for an indie act, the rhythm section replaces the guitar as the sonic right-hand man. The low frequencies are very well tended by Julio Tavarez who explores his fretboard freely but leaves a trail of string as he goes so as to remain aware of where drummer Clifford Sarcona places the groove. The songs have been lovingly crafted and chiselled to perfection with all sorts of other instruments and samples. Obviously the remaining official instruments' in the band (guitars and piano) appear most frequently but it's interesting to note that a lot of the time they are blobs of paint where the bass and drums are the canvas and the vocals a paintbrush; insignificant when isolated but when all the elements converge beautiful textures are made. // 9

Lyrics: In a similar way to the music As Tall As Lions' lyrics have matured with time. The oddly melodramatic, almost childish lyrics found on older songs like Break Blossom' wouldn't work with the suave, R&B influenced music here, but luckily things have moved along nicely in sync. It's strange how understated the timbre of Daniel Nigro's voice has become whilst he still remains very much the focal point of the band, but this helps his messages in many ways. Ironically enough, considering the artwork (which in itself brilliantly sums up the albums themes), nothing at all is force-fed and you could listen to the album a hundred times before anything became clear but the depth is there for all to see, should anyone wish to find it. // 8

Overall Impression: You Can't Take It With You' is easily the most consistent release from this band yet; from start to finish it delivers just the right kind of song at the right time and goes with the ebb and flow of things. It doesn't have the immediacy of Lafcadio', nor the spacey atmosphere of their self-titled, but it has an unidentifiable x-factor that makes its 50 minute length feel more like 10, inviting you back after each listen. Standout tracks include the faintly sleazy charisma of We's Been Waitin'', the detailed yet to-the-point pulsing of the title track and most importantly of all, the chillingly beautiful Duermete' which summarises everything that is great about this album. Progressing for the sake of progression isn't something that As Tall As Lions concern themselves with, and neither is the haphazard conjecture of styles. However, in a seemingly effortless manner, their natural experimentation has put together a believable combination of indie, progressive rock, post-rock, soul and blues, which unsurprisingly is a musical development and a definite improvement on where they've come from. Highly recommended. // 9

- Duncan Geddes aka duncang (c) 2009

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overall: 8
You Can't Take It With You Reviewed by: sweetpeasuzie, on august 24, 2009
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Sound: The polished guitar strips of As Tall As Lions' Saen Fitzgerald still feels like a deep-tissue massage working into taut muscles, and the graceful furls of Daniel Nigro's vocals and piano playing still has a warm and soothing touch. With a rhythm section comprised of bassist Julio Tavarez and drummer Clifford Sarcona rounding out the band, As Tall As Lions have returned with their new CD, You Can't Take It With You, from Triple Crown Records. The band's reflective pools of shimmery guitar effects and soft thumping grooves have the caressive ribbing of MGMT's soundscapes and the soaring lifts of Keane. At times, the music has a catchy Beatlesque twitching like in Sixes And Sevens, while other tracks have the silky glaze of glistening icicles like in the title track. The lavish aerials of Fitzgerald's guitar in Circles stir excitement in the melody's dynamics, and his arousing solo in Go Easy spikes the glassy synth-textured field with shooting sprockets. Nigro's register has an ambient texture that produces a hypnotic effect, stroking the music with a lullaby versing in Sleepyhead and a theatrical pomp in We's Been Waiting, which also weaves in snippets of saloon-style piano keys and jocular cymbals popping in and out of the sequences. The album chimes in with some jazz horns sprinkled over the aquatic movements of The Narrows as Nigro's vocals move about in a nomadic manner. The distortions echoed in the guitar chords of In Case Of Rapture smooth out to an even keel along the chord progressions and turn contemplative in Lost My Mind. Movements blossom and retract along Duermete underscored by a bluesy temperament, and reel in shooting beams of radiating streaks reflective of Snow Patrol along the passageways of Is This Tomorrow. // 8

Lyrics: As Tall As Lions' lyrics focus on relaying positive messages like in Circles with verses that resound, Breathe me in my love / And hold me in tight / Wandering, not lost / Alone in the night / The fear's begun to surface / So breathe me in my love / And hold me in tight. Sometimes the lyrics reverberate like a mantra citing, It's better to die on your feet than live down on your knees from In Case Of Rapture as Nigro claims, We're all just sinner. The lyrics and mood of the music veer towards being positive even through feelings of insecurities and pangs of sullenness, which is an attractive philosophy on life. They are the Henry David Thoreau of today's generation. // 8

Overall Impression: The album starts out strong and then loses its motivation and inspiration as it goes on, like its purpose was fulfilled within the first few tracks. That's a bit of a drawback with As Tall As Lions who tend to repeat themselves after a while, but fans of the band will revel in their music no matter how often their songs start sounding the same. If you're in the market for modern melodic rock, As Tall As Lions has an album that caters to your sensibilities. Their atmospherics are smooth with a few spikes here and there to enliven the cocktail and pump some adrenaline into the veins. You Can't Take It With You reaffirms As Tall As Lions place in the global market as having melodic magnetism and soothing soundscapes that meet ambient rock's standards. // 8

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