Release Date: August 18, 2009
Reviewed by Evelyn Miska
As Tall As Lions’ third album is the sort of careful and possibly innocuous collection of the type for which bands like Coldplay have become famous. The music is definitely on the side of Indie, but not so much so as to disenchant more mainstream potential fans. Yes, there are a few tracks that might shake up the casual listener, but, for the most part, You Can’t Take It With You, is an interesting, clever (but not dangerously so) album that will likely grow on listeners the more they play these tracks.
“Circles” is a safe opening track with a good beat and decent energy. It will immediately remind some listeners of a cross between The Shins and Coldplay, but, to be fair, the band manages to pull together the pleasant aspects of each band and still, somehow, make it their own. Occasionally, there are songs that seem more trance-inspired, such as the title track. The verses clearly pull in that dreamy and trippy sort of approach that bands such as Massive Attack and Portishead are known for, though, as in most of their songs, As Tall As Lions still manages to remain safely edgy. Just enough of something unusual to attract one’s ears, but not pushing things so far as to become weird or uncomfortable.
“Duermete” again falls into that Coldplay-esque realm and this track and a few others show lead singer Dan Nigro pulling out some falsetto vocals. While a written description may make that sound like it won’t be pretty, in defense of “Duermete,” the instrumentation is delicate enough to support this approach and the song is quite nice overall. For as low-key as “Duermete” is, “Is This Tomorrow?” increases the volume, tempo and attack. The track pulls in a combination of rock and some R & B vocal stylings to good effect. With a strong and catchy chorus, the track stands out from the rest and even if it doesn’t shock people, it is a strong song with a dash of funk to keep things interesting.
You Can’t Take It With You isn’t going to be the type of album to shock and stun listeners. However, there is something to be said for putting out a solid album that doesn’t rely on gimmicks and trends to the point of getting in the way of any lasting effect. As Tall As Lions have managed to write and record an album that is solid, steady, carefully innovative and not so far out as to make listeners uncomfortable. A rare and often daunting feat.