The three gentlemen in Hounds Before Lions are here, and they’re doing work. After releasing their debut EP in March, the group focused their efforts towards creating their follow-up full-length album, appropriately titled Hounds Before Lions.
The story of Hounds Before Lions begins at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where each of them study music. After some house shows and a 3-track EP, they headed to Pine Hollow Audio to make their LP a reality. The result is an impressive, genre-spanning album.
The album begins with the jangly guitar intro of “State Of Foreign Affairs”. Strewn with melodic piano and soft vocals, the song is hopeful while still feeling desolate. It pleasantly leads into “Chicago, A Long Time Ago”, another catchy indie rock tune.
Ambient track “Nemo” sits in the middle of the album. Running at six minutes, it was certainly an exercise in composition and minimalist instrumentation. The dreamy track was an easy song to dive into and get lost in as it surrounds you with delicate synth and, eventually, some light snare drum. Bookended by two more concrete songs, it fit well with the flow of the album.
Some parts of Hounds Before Lions felt a little too unstructured for my taste, but I can still respect the band’s intentions with the formulation of said parts. Lyrically, they’re establishing some pretty solid moods with a consistent theme, and to top it all off, they sound good set to music. At this stage in the band’s career, they’re certainly off to a phenomenal start, and I can say the same for their album. This is a good album; it isn’t perfect, but they’ve left themselves plenty of room to grow.
Hounds Before Lions balances the trio’s ambient influences with structured indie rock influences nicely. As a fledgling band, they’ve done quite well, and I look forward to seeing how their sound translates in a live setting.
February 01 at Fitger’s Brewhouse in Duluth, MN
March 28 at The Cabin in Eau Claire, WI