Lions and Acrobats is a band with a flair for drama. How that sonically translates to their song structures often results on them wielding output blending characteristically emo rock lyrics (confessional – in fact, the unofficially released “Cloud” is arguably their most popular material to date) and “diluted” new wave post-hardcore. Their latest single, “Orange,” arrived almost three years after the release of their debut album, Points & Perspectives – a record filled with non-committal grit two steps behind its live form.
“Orange” is an incubated effort that ironically needs more work. Though it has a technically stronger footing compared to most of the band’s earlier songs, it begs for cohesion, a well-defined construction. My problem isn’t with its length, but with a song that long, it comes with caution: necessity. There are moments that buoy aimlessly and are therefore, can be done without. There’s also the damning element of balance: with three guitars, the burden to balance and to create dimension lies on its rhythm section, and in it, the drums fell short.
Like most Lions songs, “Orange” is a well-worded composition that lingers on redemption, strongly on the fact that when these songs are performed live, at best, they are uncompromising and even guttural at times. That’s why the recorded material sounding inferior to its live counterpart is just frustrating. Combined with “Cloud,” Lions and Acrobats’ latest effort doesn’t seem to be making an artistic shift (nothing obvious, at least), but allows space for more experimentation. After all, they are a great live act that can turn into an aural beast if they want to, but the pertinent question is how to collar that intensity beyond a live spectacle.