Post-punk is a bit of a funny label to play with. Readily applied to bands like Biffy Clyro, Thrice and Reuben, it seems to be a catch-all for anything that just sounds big these days. It would be far too easy to lump Cheltenham’s I, The Lion in with that lot. While it’s clear that the trio take influence from a few of the noisiest bands around, you’d be hard pressed to find a record that has the same heart and ambition as Run.
The EP is a technical masterpiece, to say the least. Recorded and produced by Jason Wilson at Stakeout Studios, who’s worked with big names like You Me At Six and Fightstar, was a clever move, helping to enhance and consolidate what is already an impressive signature sound. Everything about Run is huge, from the infectious riffs to the ambitious choruses. If you’ve ever seen I, The Lion live, then you’ll know that it is actually possible to make that level of noise with just three people, even if it seems unbelievable for now. Take lead single ‘Hold Strong’, for example – right from the start, you notice the sheer force of the drums and the incredible level of control in the melody. Then, when Chris’ vocals start to feed in, they’re just the right side of gruff, balancing perfectly against Elliot’s higher backing. Each element in ‘Hold Strong’ is so intricately crafted, and that carries through the entire record. ‘Icarus’ is perhaps my favourite track, with its playful opening riff that leads into a crushing breakdown right from the off. But, for those of you who like their stuff to sound epic, then ‘Bonny Island’ crashes through any expectations and totally rewrites them – a complex, time-signature bending pure rock pounder with riffs that Incubus would be jealous of.
However, it’s not just the fact that I, The Lion are completely on top of their game musically that really makes Run such a fantastic record. Lyrically, you can be forgiven for thinking it’s just another pile of metaphor on metaphor at first glance, but if you listen closely, Run is a thrilling, emotionally intelligent ride. From start to finish, it’s an exhilarating experience, and it’s impossible not to see the love and attention that has been lavished upon these four tracks.
Run is a statement of intent – I, The Lion have arrived, and they’re here to stay in your stereo. One of the most exciting new bands in the British scene, I, The Lion are perfectly poised to overthrow the alternative rock hierarchy and triumphantly claim your adoration as rightfully theirs.
4.5 out of 5 high fives!
You can read our interview with I, The Lion about how Run came together here.