There is a classic sound to Living Things that will have parents of children who buy this album walk in and ask whether this is early Crue or Foreigner. During a song like “Bom Bom Bom”, Living Things come up with a style that is not as stark and intermediary as Buckcherry, but rather is a smooth blend of styles that work in 2006. The production is immaculate, and show what the classic rock bands would sound like if they had the same level of technology back in 1976 as they do in 2006.
The only thing that seems to hold Living Things back is the monotone of their lead singer, something that manifests itself most seriously during the aforementioned “Bom Bom Bom”. The style is intended to be cool and disaffected, but what happens is that there is little variation in this voice through some of the songs on “Ahead of the Lions”. This problem with the monotony of the vocals for Living Things is something that is not a common occurrence for the band. For example, a song like “Bombs Below” is a track that shows intense variation in the set of vocals.
The arrangements present on “Ahead of the Lions” play it fairly safe, with a general “classic” rock sound washing over the listeners with each subsequent track. While there is a high amount of cohesion during the tracks on “Ahead of the Lions”, this is not a stifling type of cohesion. All this cohesion means is that individuals could hear any Living Things track from this album and be able to successfully identify the band. While acts like Fu Manchu were able to craft a specific sound and not derivate from that sound over the course of a few albums, Living Things may need to change things up for subsequent albums. I’m not saying that the band necessarily has to reinvent themselves, but that they should look into incorporating other styles and genres of music to their already solid sound. Tracks on “Ahead of the Lions” are those that would get considerable play on rock radio, but there is not quite enough under the surface that music fans could hold up as a reason why they should listen to the Living Things over a number of the other retro rock bands out on the market.
Top Tracks: Bom Bom Bom, God Made Hate
Living Things – Ahead of the Lions / 2006 Jive / 12 Tracks / http://www.livingthingsmusic.com / http://www.jiverecords.com / Reviewed 04 May 2006