Chicago’s Pet Lions made their recorded debut with 2009’s Soft Right EP, a breezy collection of songs much indebted to the fashionable pop of bands like The Strokes and Phoenix. The record, along with the band’s early live shows, helped to create a buzz in The Windy City and introduce Pet Lions to a small national audience.
Now, two years later, a much matured Pet Lions have released a full-length record entitled Houses. Opener “The English Room” is mannered art pop that morphs into abstract psychedelic rock; “Slow Wave” is breathtaking, the chorus “I’ve always wanted you more than anything” carrying considerable emotional weight; “Sleeping” explores Tropicália, while “Comeback” recalls 80’s cult heroes The Ocean Blue; “Southern Arms” is dance music for the bedsit; album closer “Thieves” is shimmering: strong vocal harmonies, cathedral organ and a solid backbeat, along with electronic noises, freak-out guitar and a noisy coda.
Stateside caught Pet Lions (in support of fellow Chicagoans Santah) at a small venue recently, and was wowed by the band’s live performance, which verged on post-rock, a genre much associated with their hometown. Interwoven guitar lines, subtle synthesizer and Matt Dahl’s powerhouse percussion created an intense wall of sound. Karl Ostby’s lead vocal sidestepped obvious hooks and was smartly integrated into the overall sound.
Pet Lions will return to the stage on 27 August with a show at Chicago’s Schuba’s Tavern. Houses is available on both compact disc and MP3 formats through the band’s official Website.