Updated April 16, 2017.
*Pete Sounds is a new contributor to Bytown Sound’s music review team*
The Lionyls, a self described Rock and Soul band hailing from Ottawa, bring the noize with their Chili Peppers influenced funk rock on three tracks available at their bandcamp website. While the Chili Peppers influence is somewhat sleeveworn, singer Zach Raynor avoids the more tedious aspects of Anthony Keidis’ delivery. Lyrically, they also sidestep some of the more esoteric imagery of the Peppers, opting for an arguably more effective straightforward approach. This ends by making this band’s sound their own. The Rhythm section of Alex Jee (bass) and Anto Rizzuti (drums) keep things on an upswing, guiding “Coffee House Introduction” through really interesting tempo changes and a flashy head lolling breakdown that provides space for guitarist Robbie Rigg to dive into a stinger solo that reaches out into the fine lines found between the lines.
The lovely “Castaway”, a track from the Lionyls debut album is a two part schizo break up tune that begins with a minor key blues reminiscent of Zep’s “Since I’ve been Loving You”, complete with an over the river vocal performance, perfectly phrased with tightly packed syllabic punch outs. Kudos to the band for continuing the lyrical tradition of chasing a metaphor throughout a whole piece (a la Garbageman). Part two is a rave up, rave UP that sees our protagonist running from the desperate feeling of loneliness, back into the arms of his tormentor. This is accompanied by a brief break down lead break from guitarist Rigg, who sears through feedback like it’s a prime cut. The final act is a funk charged return to the original musical motif that is finely delivered and propelled by the front loaded rhythm section of Jee and Rizutti. The track is a great example of what happens when a good band tightens the screws to become a unit firing on all cylinders.
A few of their older tracks, recorded between 2013-15 serve as preparation for the Lionyls’ release available now on iTunes, Google Play, among others. The band’s standout track on their previous album is Garbageman. Beginning with a floatin’ fleece piece of arpeggiation, it soon moves into a sweet soul chord progression complemented by Raynor’s lovely ode to faraway love. The Doo-Wop background melo further sets this chune apart from other lovelorn ballads. The image of the Garbageman cluttering and clattering away at the object of his affections is tenderly effective and is perfectly complemented by a charmingly clunking rhythm arrangement. You kind feel for the poor bastard…don’t ya? Don’t ya? You’d better, cause if you’re not him, you could be.