Christians and Lions - More Songs for the Dreamsleepers & the Very Awake (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Christians and Lions

More Songs for the Dreamsleepers & the Very Awake (2006)


Initially I had a brief laugh at how my first impressions of Christians & Lions were that I was listening to a quitely Bright Eyes-influenced act. Why this actually came off as humorous is because a large portion of the band used to be in the Lido Venice, whom I loved, and if they sounded like anyone it was Cursive. They only managed to unleash one official release to their name, however: the smart, edgy indie rock chip of 2004's four-song EP, Songs Written Around the Campfire in the Belly of a Whale. While this project is completely different, it still manages to nod towards another Saddle Creek flagship -- but with multiple listens it's clear that there's more to it than the Oberst-inspiration relegation I may be acting on, even if there's nothing on More Songs for the Dreamsleepers & the Very Awake that manages to match the bombastic power contained within the brief Campfire.

In truth, if there are other acts Christians & Lions take cues from it's ones vaguely releated to Bright Eyes, as C&L seem to take a little bit from the upbeat alt-country pop of the Elected and the acoustic hum of Album of the Year-era Good Life. Christians & Lions even occasionally employ some horns in classy mannerisms ("Gimme Diction," "Some Trees," the sultry "Skinny Fists" among a few others). Frontman Ben Potrykus is again at the forefront of the songs with his clean but relatively frail voice in the vein of the aforementioned bands' respective frontmen; his range isn't nearly as tested as it has been in past efforts, but it feels honest and his ability to hold notes is plenty apt ("Sexton Under Glass"). The cheerful "Stay Warm" is the definitive standout here with jangly strums and shuffling pacing. Many songs here proves Potrykus is quite capable of telling a quaint, short narrative, but none better than the smirking, fun little "A Root's Grave Is Above Ground."

Even trying to evaluate More Songs for the Dreamsleepers & the Very Awake on its own, the conclusion can't be drawn that what's here isn't much more than "nice." It's always sort of a backhanded compliment, but ending it on a positive note proves there's more good than bad in Dreamsleepers, a collection of earnest, mildly affecting indie/folk.

Gimme Diction
Skinny Fists

Stay Warm