Make no mistake: As Tall as Lions are indie. I might as well tell you that they're a little emo too. I might as well mention they've also acquired a pretty big fan base through touring with the likes of June, The Spill Canvas and Coheed & Cambria. And I definitely feel obligated to tell you that their sound is a wife-swap of indie greatness; at one moment they're sounding like the Mars Volta meets Elbow, and the next it's sounding like Radiohead meets Keane.
Their self-titled, sophomore release is a great record, mixing ambient indie-pop with a pinch of emo over insanely catchy choruses that lift you somewhere dreamy and occasionally take you somewhere much darker. The singing of Daniel Nigro is loose and captivating, but at the same time he's howling straight from the heart at the climax of every song. It's a powerful and direct record that provides a decent soundtrack for daydreaming about your love life.
The album starts off with "Stab City", a crashing pure-pop injection of glorious melodies and daydreaming choruses. Next, the obvious seller of the album, "Love, love, love (love, love)" is terrific in every sense, cooking up fiery blasts of indie brilliance while capturing the explosive essence of Daniel Nigro's words, "But don't get too attached to the living/Even every single memory's fleeting. That's a fact, being torn asunder." It's a smasher, you'll all be humming it soon, trust me.
Another sizzler, "Ghost York", is a beautiful slice of swirling indie guitar chords and catchy choruses. The music is fantastic moody rock. Meanwhile, "Where do I Stand" crafts a different tune, mixing the chatter of teenaged storytelling and lush tones.
As Tall as Lions have created a deeply rewarding splurge of breathy indie-rock and a sophomore release that is compelling and their stunningly executed. There's a lot of great indie-pop talent filling the air here, suggesting that these guys will be around for a while, making music that puts their peers to shame.