Long Island-based As Tall as Lions' latest full-length album, You Can't Take It With You, which dropped in August of last year, consists of some seriously high-concept indie rock. With influences ranging from the Cirque du Soleil-like performance art of "Fuerza Bruta: Look Up" to Daniel Quinn's mythological examination Ishmael and a title that vocalist/guitarist Dan Nigro believed he saw in an ad and later discovered was the name of a 1938 film, it was inevitable. But what more can you expect from a band not content with merely fine-tuning its chops that has worked tirelessly to hone in on the essence of its sound, capture it, and rally around it as one cohesive unit?
That's exactly what Nigro, guitarist Sean Fitzgerald, bassist Julio Tavarez, and drummer Cliff Sarcona accomplished, despite the eclectic and oft-inventive nature of their recording. Unexpected implements lend to the assorted and colorful auditory mélange. From one track to the next, you can hear the cheesy electronic notes of a Suzuki Omnichord, vocals through a $10 megaphone, and chopsticks on a Coke bottle.
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The kitchen-sink, collective animal approach carries over to opener Bear Hands, a Brooklyn experimental group that keeps pop hooks nearby, and, of course, to local ukulele mistress Rachel Goodrich, who probably wishes she had bear hands of her own.