All told, Born Lion’s 2015 debut LP Final Words was a great record, its couple of missteps smoothed over by relentless pace and earworm hooks as it went on to pick up an ARIA nom for Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album. Now, their follow-up Celebrate The Liehones that raw punk rock formula to a much finer – and sharper – point.
The band’s Adelaide excursion to produce the record with Jimmy Balderstone (see Luca Brasi, High Tension and Grenadiers) definitely hasn’t hurt matters, nor has mixing from Ryan Hazell (The Drones, Green Buzzard), and the sophomore effort feels more consistently hard-hitting than their debut – and all the better for it.
Album opener ‘Slowly Sinking’ sets the tone with a barrage from the band’s ever-impressive rhythm section, featuring a fresh recruit in drummer Andres Hyde (via Sumeru and No Apologies), and walking the perfect line between cutthroat punk and melodic hardcore.
There’s some serious menace on tracks like ‘No Connection’ and lead single ‘Evil K’, the latter delivering hints of QOTSA in both its sound and video clip, and providing another of the album’s standout moments.
Things get a little groovier riding the crunchy bass of ‘Patience’, and ‘Old Days’ breaks out into one of the record’s clearest pop melodies, while ‘Drag’ also proves to be a joy, its singalong vox giving us the album’s titular refrain “I’d give it all I’ve got, but I’d really rather not, so I celebrate the lie.”
It’s a misleading line though, as Born Lion have something a lot more tangible to celebrate – a sophomore LP that builds on the strongest parts of their previous efforts, doubling down on what worked and scrapping what didn’t, and managing to lift you up and punch you in the guts all at once.
Born Lion’s Celebrate The Lie is out now through Four/Four, and the band head out on tour this week with Captives, so check out the dates below.
Born Lion’s ‘Born Captives’ tour
FRI 23 FEB | BENDIGO HOTEL, MELBOURNE VIC
SAT 24 FEB | ED’S CASTLE, ADELAIDE SA
FRI 2 MAR | THE FLAMING GALAH, BRISBANE QLD
SAT 3 MAR | THE CHIPPO, SYDNEY NSW