We Are Lions

Eight Arms Made This

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There's a peculiarly British brand of epic rock & roll that was first perfected in the post-punk era before it was brought to the dorms and stadiums of America courtesy of U2, Echo & the Bunnymen, and the Waterboys in the '80s, early Radiohead in the '90s, and Coldplay more recently. We Are Lions are from Hollywood, and they're not trying to sound British on their debut album, but the connection to those bands is impossible to miss. Guitarist Atom Whitman's lead vocals positively drip with earnestness without ever descending into the petulant mewling that's become the emo standard, and Matt Matawaran's wheezy keyboards inject a suitably '80s-vintage drone into the proceedings. Eight Arms Made This teeters right on the very edge of pretentiousness quite often, but then there are songs like the excellently titled "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World," powered by a nagging post-punk guitar figure and a herky-jerky throb of a rhythm section that makes up for any other faults.

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