Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A House For Lions - I Want Us To Be Remembered


A House For Lions - I Want Us To Be Remembered
2011, A House For Lions

Daniel Norman headed to Los Angeles with the idea of being an actor.  He never dreamed he might end up fronting a band.  After becoming disillusioned with the actor's life, Norman headed to Berlin for a while to clear his head.  One day, while walking through the park, a melody parked itself in Norman's brain and wouldn't let go.  By March of 2010, Norman had drawn in kindred spirits Mike Nissen (guitar) and Eric McCann (upright bass, keys), and the connection was instantaneous.  A House For Lions was born.  Just a scant year later, A House For Lions releases their debut EP, I Want Us To Be Remembered.

I Want Us To Be Remembered opens with the song that started it all.  "Let Back" grew from the wayward melody that caught Daniel Norman by surprise in Berlin, and is a mildly catchy though highly repetitive alt-pop number that will play well to radio programmers doesn't have a lot of commercial oomph.  Norman's voice has a lazy, sleepy quality to it that is moderately appealing, but his lack of enunciation and his tendency to sing just a bit flat are distracting.  "Come On Let's Go" is a bit catchier and may have a chance at commercial radio.  The song is a bit bland lyrically but is quite sound otherwise. 

"Ease My Mind" is a mellow rumination on someone he hopes will wait for him.  The Americana/60's rock tune is very well written, although runs a bit too long given the lack of dynamic variation.  The protagonist here keeps to the road as an escape, even as he looks forward to returning home to ones he loves.  "Evolution Calls" is a great blend of pop and Americana that is certain to get toes tapping.  Daniel Norman juxtaposes the concepts of love and moving on all at once, and slaps on an atypical chorus with buzzy guitars and a melody line that will stick to the inside of your skull.  This is the best writing on the disc.  A House For Lions closes with "How Many Times", a solid number that would fit well in the middle of an album but is perhaps a bit anti-climactic here.

A House For Lions stalks the hinterlands between California Country, Wilco-esque Americana and alt-rock on I Want Us To Be Remembered, creating musical moments that are accessible and unique.  Daniel Norman isn't much on vocal technique or precision, but his sleepy vocal style fits well in the atmosphere that A House For Lions creates.  I Want Us To Be Remembered is an EP that gets better with successive listens.  It's not an EP that's going to blow you away, but rather keep picking at your sub-conscience until you turn around and pay attention.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about A House For Lions at www.ahouseforlions.com or www.myspace.com/ahouseforlionsI Want Us To Remembered is available digitally from Amazon.com and iTunes.