July 28, 2009

Fate Lions "Ain't Half Bad" According to Bill

The Fate Lions, led by songwriter and front man Jason Manriquez, have roared onto the scene with their new CD entitled, "Good Enough For You". It has a pretty lo-fi indie sound, but remains charming and melodic. The best resemblance that comes to mind is The Lemonheads, but also some traces of Golden Bloom (recently reviewed here), Teenage Fanclub, and the early jangle pop days of R.E.M. "Good Enough For You" is "an album title jokingly plucked from Manriquez’ own experiences regarding family and, oddly enough, food". It will be up to the listener to decide how good it is, but after a couple listens I think these guys could have a real future with proper backing and better resources at their disposal.

Manriquez has some keen instincts for pop rock songwriting, and the band incorporates plenty of elements like oohs and ahhs, hand claps, and tambourine to keep things interesting and enjoyable. One thing they should have changed some more is the guitar tone, but at least it is played capably. Manriquez comes across a bit of a slacker in the vocal department, but somehow it seems to fit with the musical and lyrical vibe.

By far and away the best track is "Seen It All", but I'd also like to call your attention to the driving "Starsign", which incorporates clever 70s style backing vocals over a breezy acoustic rhythm, the amusing "All You Do Is Crazy", and the clap-a-long treat, "The Girls Are Alright". "Astronaut" would have also made my list, but the distortion on the vocals was a deal breaker for me.

All in all, Fate Lions ain't half bad - now the question is: Is it "Good Enough for You"?
-- Bill's Music Forum

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