New Music Review: Crossing Lions – Shake the Dust

When I listen to Shake The Dust, the debut EP by Vancouver’s Crossing Lions, I can’t help but feel a little bit of sunshine.  Don’t get me wrong, I do indeed live in the lower mainland of BC where it has been one big puddle of rain for the past 4 or 5 months, but there’s a silver lining in this young band’s music that will instill some musical vitamin D, the exact antidote we’ve been in such desperate need of, out here on the west coast, from all this wet and grey weather.

In their album opener Caulfield, it’s clear that despite the aforementioned weather doldrums, Crossing Lions are optimistic with sunny guitar riffs, perfectly vine-ripened melodies and aromatic keys which all display the band’s quality instrumentation.  They don’t quit with the musical optimism either.  The bridge lines in Up and Out are lyrically inspiring as lead singer Pé Tolfo insists “Just hold onto that hope/Don’t cut it, don’t cut it out”.   Along with the acoustic and electric guitars playing beautiful games with each other, the bass gleefully runs up and down a major scale and horns croon subtly in the background to round off one of the best songs on the EP.

The four-piece even throw a pretty cool instrumental ditty called Come On that’s only 1:43 in length, and is basically an extended intro into their next track, Wake Up.  The former carries into the latter nearly seamlessly and by now, if you aren’t feeling that Vitamin D I was referring to earlier, you may need to check your musical pulse.  If there’s one thing Crossing Lions know how to do, it’s how to write some catchy melodies with solid, head-bopping rhythms to maintain that steady musical pulse .  They know how to do other things well, like write a good indie pop tune.  Take for example the last two tracks of the Shake The Dust: To Say The Most and Sunsets.

To Say The Most begins bare with only a kick drum and bass accompaniment and then those gleaming guitar tones and chords begin ringing through.  Pé Tolfo’s voice is the icing on the indie pop cake.  Their rhythmic prowess and sweet harmonies will carry you through this musical foray.

The last track, Sunsets, is exactly that: a lovely sunset to an all-to-brief beginning.  I know this theme is getting old, so I will make it short, but as I’ve mentioned over and over, this is another shot of musical sun rays, beating down on one’s ears.  It’s a great song to end the album as throughout the outro, a chorus of voices sing, “Don’t take the time we shared for granted!”.  A parting message and a little, subtle reminder to come back for more.

As much as Shake The Dust does right, it may be too much of a sunny disposition for some.  I personally don’t mind (and quite enjoy) the upbeat positivity and optimism that’s ever-present in their music, but one can’t help but wonder if there’s a darker, moodier side of Crossing Lions that we haven’t been treated to.  One may also wonder what that music may sound like…

But one should know better than to mess with a good thing.

Besides, if too much “bright side” music isn’t your thing, I still recommend listening to Shake The Dust, but after you do, pop in Chris Isaak’s Forever Blue, sip some Syrah and dream of what may never be.

Or don’t.  (In fact, unless you are recently heartbroken and actually enjoy the pain of your heart shattered, I wouldn’t recommend Forever Blue.  It’s that depressing)

But I digress…

If you are like me and a little sick of this rainy weather, do yourself a favour and give these young lads from Vancouver a listen.  I’m pretty sure they will brighten your day, one track at a time.

Crossing Lions on Facebook (<– click the link!) They’ve only released 3 tracks from the EP and one older song called Forgery, but take a listen!

Thanks to the Crossing Lions crew for allowing me the pleasure of listening. My apologies for the delay in review!



~ by DR on June 2, 2011.

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